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Itines, books, accessor! 
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This 2.0 

edition has 
three levels 
of updating • . . 

I • The whole book is 
revised and updated. 

2. It includes a 1 6-page 

Last-Minute Supplement. 

There*s an ongoing update 
every three months in our magazi 
Whole Earth REvrEW. 

2 How to Use This Book 

4 Shopping 

7 How Computer Professionals Buy Software 

10 Computer Magazines 

14 Hardware 

22 Buying 

23 Discount Mail Order 

25 How to Get Free Software 


Not running games on your computer is lil(e refusing 
to tal(e your Ferrari out of first gear. 


Word processing programs are doing to writing wtiat 
pocl(et calculators did to figuring. 





One way to increase your productivity is to connect it 
more efficiently 


We can now express ourselves graphically as easily as 
we drive a car or use a telepfione. 


A computer is a communications device first, second, 
and ttiird. 

The process of preparing programs is especially 
attractive, not only because it can be economically and 
scientifically rewarding, but because it can be an 
aesthetic experience much like composing poetry or 


Good educational programs do the best possible thing 
for learners — they reward mistakes. 






Why were computers invented in the first place? To 
manipulate and analyze large amounts of data in a 
short time . 


Information bombards us. We might want to look at 
1 % of it again. How do we find that 1 % ? 


Accounting is so much of the essence, we pretend it 
isn't by making fun of accountants. 

Quantum Press/Doubleday 1985 
Garden City, Mew York 

Copyright * 1984, 1985 by Point. 

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 

Main entry under title: 
Whole Earth Software Catalog for 1986. 
Includes indexes. 

1. Microcomputers— catalogs. 2. Computer software- 
catalogs. I. Brand, Stewart. II. Point (Foundation) 
QA76.5.W495 1985 004.16'029'4 85-15989 
ISBN 0-385-23301-9 (pbk.) 




Miscellaneous, unclassifiable, new, dubious, 
subversive, titillating. 

200 Point Foundation 


202 Magazine Index 

202 Book Index 

202 Public Domain Index 

202 Apple II Index 

203 Atari Index 

203 Commodore 64 Index 

203 CP/M Index 

203 Tandy Radio Shack Index 

204 IBM PC and Compatible Index 
204 Macintosh Index 



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STEWART BRAND: In all our years doing Whole Earth Catalogs 
(18 years and counting) we've never dealt with a subject so 
ephemeral and expensive, so in need of subsequent editions and 
all the apparatus of routine updating. Happily, updating also 
means refining, and that's not the only reason for increased 
confidence in this book's recommendations. 

® Where the first edition reflected 11/2 years of research, this one 
reflects 2V2 years. 

® The judgements of the first edition have been massively public 
for a year. Howlers have been howled at, solid recommendations 
quietly affirmed, updates updated, and everything in this edition 
adjusted accordingly. The book itself got the kind of 
encouragement immodestly quoted on the back cover. 

® The computer marketplace has settled down considerably 
since 1984. There are fewer new products per season and fewer 
technological "new generations" being promised every minute. 
It's still a volatile industry, but less punishingly so for the 
customer. For the computer biz it's a "shakeout"; for the rest of 
us it is dramatically increasing value at decreasing price. 

• Standards have become more entrenched— machine 
standards, operating system standards, popular program 
standards. Most of our recommendations cluster conservatively 
around those standards. 

® Computer and software shoppers are far more savvy than they 
used to be, and that experience is reflected here. 

® Perhaps because of its conspicuous hysterias of boom and 
bust, the personal computer marketplace has developed a core 
cautiousness that keeps popular machines and programs at the 
top of the best seller lists for years. We challenge that 
cautiousness only when we dispute its judgement on 

This year, as last, the impossible (and unachieved) task of the 
Whole Earth Software Catalog is to identify and comparatively 
describe all of the best personal computer products— especially 
software, where the most confusion reigns. Part of the 
impossibility is that those who know a program well don't have 
sufficient comparative experience; at the same time, the 
professional wide-comparers don't have the deeper use 
experience. The only relief from the paradox is sustained 
discussion, gossip, and argument among the enraptured deeps 
and the cynical wides, and that's what this book is made of. It 
came to greater convergence of opinion than we expected, and 
the convergence grew during the second year's research. 

Personal computers are skill machines. We took that as the 
organizing principle of the research and the book. Playing, 
Writing, Analyzing, Organizing, Accounting, Managing, 
Drawing, Telecommunicating, Learning, and that profoundest of 
skills. Etcetera. For each. Editor and Research Director Barbara 
Robertson found and directed a Domain Editor to be responsible 
for all that appeared and failed to appear in that section, and to 
collaborate fully with the other Domain Editors. 

Everything recommended has been at least tried and usually 
lived with by its recommender(s). Many of the reviews are 

"multi-voiced" to reflect the variety of opinion on a given 
product (liking and disliking software is intensely personal, i.e. 
variable) and to convey the passionate advocacy that clusters 
around good stuff. Since shoppers are by necessity comparison 
shoppers, we are much as possible comparison reviewers, 
asserting which is better than which for what and for whom. 

A feature that is new this year, and still unique in the field so far 
as we know, is our showing of "street price" as well as list price 
with most of the items recommended. Because EVERYTHING in 
the computer business is available at discount, usually 30 to 50 
percent, and the savings are measured in hundreds and 
thousands of dollars, we realized it would be a disservice if we 
didn't research and proclaim the discount prices. They'll shift, 
of course, but almost always to your advantage with the passage 
of time. (I'll be interested to see if computer magazines adopt 
the practice of showing discount prices in their articles and 
reviews; it's somewhat at odds with the interests of advertisers.) 

Next to every review of an item that is new to the 2.0 edition 
you'll find a O. Two reasons for that. One is to show off how 
radically New and Improved this edition is (of the 473 items 
recommended, 207 are new). The other reason is to indicate 
which products (the unstarred veterans) have held their own at 
the top of their area. Golden oldies stay golden either because 
they are too pure to tarnish or because they are constantly 
repolished with new versions. Each product that appears again 
was re-evaluated, re-accessed (new price, version number, 
machines it runs on, etc.) and frequently re-reviewed. Then 
re-cross-referenced, re-indexed, sometimes re-illustrated, 
oh the joy. 

Many computer books age quickly. That's one reason, heh, heh, 
heh, there's fewer of them this year. We've taken a number of 
steps to help keep this one fresh. One is the rapid six-week 
turnaround with Doubleday's printer, so there's only a couple of 
months between research and reader. The main body of the 
Software Catalog for 1986 was completed in May and June, 
1985. Still that cut us off from some major hardware news in 
Summer '85, so we arranged for a 16-page "Last-Minute 
Supplement" (p. 209) to be added. 

Ai^ we have a magazine. Every three months Whole Earth 
Review, which is about everything but also about computers, 
takes a number of pages to update the Whole Earth Software 
Catalog. That's where many of the new reviews in this edition 
first appeared. If you want to get it, ordering information is by 
the photograph. 

If you want to contact us editorially, PLEASE DO. We use (and 
pay for) reviews and suggestions from readers and in any case 
would like to hear from you. 

Our EDITORIAL address: Whole Earth Review 
27 Gate Five Rd. 
Sausalito, CA 94965 
Phone: 415/332-4335 

Electronic access: We have a conference on CompuServe (go 
WEC at any prompt); a conference on EIES (Public Conference 
1031); and our own regional teleconferencing system (which 
may be national by the time you read this) called The WELL 
(stands for Whole Earth Lectronic Link, more info. on p. 148)— 
have your computer call The WELL at 415/332-6106. WELL 
membership costs only $8/month, $2/hour. In due course we 
hope to have a constantly updated Whole Earth Software 
Catalog available online on the WELL and elsewhere. 


The quarterly \NhQ\e Earth Review is subtitled "Tools and Ideas for 
the Computer Age. " One of its functions is to update this Whole 
Earth Software Catalog every three months— along with its 
evaluation of the rest of the tools civilization offers, along with wide 
coverage of "unorthodox cultural news. " That phrase covers 
everything from how digital retouching of photographs by mass 
media has changed the meaning of photography to a detailed story 
on the "pro" side of clubbing seal pups in Canada. Each issue is 
about 144 pages. There's no advertising. Single issues are $4.50 on 
newsstands or from us. 

3 ti^^sitfmit^mm^ mAmm^^^s W^s^ims^i^^^^^^^^ 

A subscription costs 
$18/year (4 issues) from: 

Whole Earth Review 

27 Gate Five Road, Dept. SC 

Sausalito, CA 94965 

Phone orders with VISA or 
IVIasterCard: 415/332-4335 

Even does surface plots in 3-D . . . 

Neil Polhemus. Version 1.0. Not copy-protected. 
$695 (street $475). IBM PC/XT/AT and 
compatibles (384K; 2 disk drives or hard disk 
required). STSC, Inc., 2115 East Jefferson St., 
Rockville, MD 20852; 301/984-5123. 

STEWART BRAND: The dense clump of information under the 
title of each program contains critical information you should 
scan first, like what machines the product runs on, what other 
hardware needs it has (joystick, two disk drives, color monitor, 
etc.), the price!, and whether it's copy-protected. Vast labor 
went into getting all this accurate (typically, three phone calls per 
product), so take advantage. The version number tells what 
stage in the program's evolution was available when we went to 
press in June '85. Since new versions are usually an 
improvement, don't buy an earlier number, do buy a later 
number if you find one. 


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You'll find that phrase in the "access" part of book reviews. It 
serves as backup in case your local bookstore doesn't have the 
book you're looking for. All the books recommended in the 
Catalog are available by mail order from COMPUTER LITERACY 
BOOKSHOP, 520 Lawrence Expressway, Suite 310, Sunnyvale, 
CA 94086--the first and largest (with over 9000 computer 
book titles) all-computer-book bookstore in the land. See p. 
201 for details. Point has no financial connection to Computer 



Editor in Chief 

Editor and Research Director 

IVlanaging Editor 

Design and Production 
Production Assistants 

Research Librarian 
Research Staff 

Research Assistants 

Domain Editors 

Contributing Editors 

Production Liaison 
Line Editors 

Cover Design 

Logo and Calligraphy 


Office Manager 

General Purpose Clerk 

Doubleday Editors 

Literary Agent 

Stewart Brand 

Barbara Robertson 

Matthew McClure 
2.0: Lyn Gray 

Dustin Kahn, San Francisco 

KarlaFung, Barbara Gildea, 
Walter Lynam 
2.0: Paula McKenzie, 
Joani Spadaro, Nancy Yee 

Kathryn Parks 

Clifford Figallo 
James Stockford 
Lyn Gray 
Karen Hamilton 

Anita Figallo 
Hank Roberts 
Cindy Craig 
Levi Thomas 

Tony and Robbie Fanning 
Rik Jadrnicek 
Art Kleiner 
Steven Levy 

Aaron S. (Woody) Liswood 
Marsha Mather-Thrift 
Sharon Rufener 
Robert Scarola 
Gerald M. Weinberg 

Richard Dalton 
Charles Spezzano 
Dr. Dobb's Journal 

Elisabeth Folsom 
2.0: Clifford Figallo 

Suzanne Lipsett 

2.0: Hank Roberts, Ted Schultz 

Hank Roberts 
Charles Sweet 
Susan Erkel Ryan 

Rebecca Wilson 

John Prestianni 

Don Ryan 

Lyn Gray 

Dick Fugett 

Philip Pochoda, Patrick Filley, 
Paul Aron 

John Brockman Associates 

Typesetting: Mackenzie-Harris 
Corporation, San Francisco 

Color Separations: Concept Color, 
Inc., Salt Lake City 

Film Production: Lithographic 
Consultants, San Francisco 



STEWART BRAND: Software is a new enough kind of thing in the 
world that humans are still figuring out how to deal with it. 
Though it can be bought and sold, you can't see, hear, touch, 
taste, smell, eat, or burn it. On an unlovely flat artifact called a 
disk may be hidden the concentrated intelligence of thousands of 
hours of design, for which you are expected to pay hundreds of 
dollars, and which you can reproduce on your own computer 
with perfect fidelity in less than a minute, free. 

Personal computers have an inherent outlaw element. This 
makes them enjoyable and creative and morally interesting. 
More on that in a moment. 

All software does is manage symbols. Unlike letters and 
numbers on paper, the symbols reside in a marvelously fluid 
zero gravity noplace, where they dance with impeccable 
precision to your tune. Software articulates your intentions 
faithfully, but it eludes understanding. We treat the stuff (it isn't 
stuff) as if programs were just like the how-to books our Whole 
Earth Catalogs have been dealing in for years. They provide 
technique. They can transform lives. They sell cheap or dear 
Some are better than others. This entire book is about finding 
the better ones. 

Is shopping really worth the trouble? There are some 40,000 
commercial programs for personal computers on the market, 
and they all work. Why not just grab the handiest and proceed? 
Because software, when it is used at all intensely, comes to feel 
like an extension of your nervous system. Its habits become 
your habits. The reason the term "personal" got stuck to these 
machines is, they become part of your person. Buyer beware. 

Acquire as little software as you can get by with, and stick 
with it. That's hardware critic Richard Dalton's advice. It's easy 
to get so caught up in the constant onrush of improvements and 
"next generations" in the software market that you wind up 
forever getting ready to work instead of working. You can buy 
last year's computer cheap, get last year's software, which runs 
beautifully on it by now, take the month to get fully running with 
it, and then turn your back on the market for a couple years. 
Your system will pay for itself shortly the rest is pure profit, and 
you're spared a world of distraction and itchiness. 

Buy the best. That's Analyzing domain editor Woody Liswood's 
advice. "Get the top-of-the-line program in whatever area you 
are going to do work. If you don't, you will always wish you had 
and will eventually spend the extra money to get it anyway. If you 
are trying to solve a problem, buy the solution. Period." Take a 
look at Gerald Weinberg's analysis on p. 7. The price of a 
program, even if it's many hundreds of dollars, may be the least 
of your costs. A poor program for your purposes, which may or 
may not be cheap, will escalate the secondary costs, entangle 
you in its deficiencies, and can easily put you out of business. 
By contrast, the pleasure of driving a top program is as rich as 
driving a hot new car, at a fraction the price, and to greater 

Use what your cohorts use. If you have colleagues and they 
already have computers, you'd best blend into their system. It 
may well be, groan, WORDSTAR (p. 56) and DBASE II (p. 85), 
but the fact is, you'll be using each other's programs and files, 
and if you have an odd system you'll either be constantly 
translating or simply failing to communicate. The advantage of a 
group standard is the abundance of lore and sagacity about it 
that will have accumulated, saving you no end of lone 

Base your hardware decision on your software decisions. 

That's the conventional wisdom, but it's wise anyway. When 
users hear about a new computer, they ask, "What runs on it?" 
When they hear about a new program, they ask, "What's it run 
on?" No machine runs everything or even a majority of what's 
available. Check our Hardware section, p. 14, for the basic 
ultimate decision you'll have to make; then peruse the rest of the 
book for the programs that best meet your needs and budget, 
see what machines they run on, and return to p. 14 and your 
fate. That loop may be one of the best uses of this book. 

Good software does an important job well. The fundamental 
consideration when you're putting out this kind of money. 

Good software is transparent. The term and idea emerged 
during our research on word processing programs, but it applies 
to all. Arthur Naiman, author of Introduction to WordStar 
(p. 56), said it best: "The writing tool I always dreamed of was 
one which would take my thoughts right out of my skull and put 
them on paper The better a word processing system is, the 
closer it comes to this ideal . Thus the quality I look for most is 
transparency. By that I mean that the word processing program 
(and hardware) intrude as little as possible between you and 
your thoughts. 

If I had to make a formula for transparency, I suppose it would 
look something like this: 

power X ease of use - fatal errors 
time required to get comfortable 


In Naiman's formula "power" means the range of the program's 
capabilities— often called "features." "Fatal errors" don't hurt 
you or the machine; they may eat all or part of a document 
you're working on, which leads to swearing, repeated work, and 

Good software is structured like an onion. Richard Dalton: 
"The ideal program is layered— simple and self-evident on the 
outside, with all the features anyone needs, but you can also dig 
into the program for progressively more complex layers." Most 
complex programs are horrors to learn— DBASE II (p. 85) is a 
classic. Most simple programs have no depth— PES: WRITE 
(p. 54) comes to mind. The great programs have both simplicity 
and complexity— MICROSOFT WORD (p. 60), 1-2-3 (p. 68), and 
MACPAINT (p. 127) are examples in that direction. Programs 
should be like those Russian imperial Easter eggs by Faberge, 
with the exquisite jeweled landscapes you peek into— attractive 
on the outside, magnificent within. 



Good software blends well with other software. You can't invite 
most software to the same party. If they speal< to each other at 
all, they fight. Ideally, all of your "applications" software- 
writing, analyzing, organizing, accounting, managing, drawing, 
telecommunicating, and programming— would speak the same 
language and welcome interaction. They would be "command 
compatible" and "file compatible"— they would respond to the 
same instructions from you, and they could work comfortably 
with each other's documents. This is the great attraction of the 
"integrateds" like SYMPHONY (p. 111) and FRAMEWORK 
(p. 110), where a handful of applications are all in one program, 
but beware what Organizing domain editor Tony Fanning calls 
"the Decathlon effect"— "one function is done very well, and the 
others, usually including the data management function, are just 
fair." The Whole Earth Software Catalog gives extra points to 
programs whose files are in industry-standard formats so 
they're companionable with other companies' programs. 

Good software is well supported. "Support " refers to the cloud 
of information and other products around a program that give it 
a rich working context in the world. Some comes from the 
company's conscientiousness, some from the program's 
popularity. Good support: lots of machines run the program; lots 
of other programs will work with it; there are whole books on 
special applications; the program is routinely upgraded; and the 
company responds helpfully to users with problems. Atypical 
spectrum of company support: users who call the makers of 
WORD PERFECT (p. 60) for help with a problem get thorough, 
friendly treatment; from the makers of MICROSOF WORD 
(p. 60) and WORDSTAR (p. 56) they get indifferent treatment. 

Good software is not copy-protected. That's a somewhat 
controversial position on a highly controversial subject. Many 
manufacturers try to discourage "piracy" (wholesale copying) of 
their software by various protective devices. Fine. The problem 
is, if the users can't copy all or parts of the program easily within 
their own working environments, the tool is much less 
adaptable, and inconveniences and incompatibilities, 
sometimes major ones, are introduced by the protection 
schemes. Therefore we recommend the following: 1) Do not 
buy or sell illegally copied software; 2) the showing and 
sharing of copies of software among friends is mostly okay, IF, 
once you decide to use a copied program in your work, you go 
out and buy a regular commercial copy and take advantage of 
its nice manual, company support, and so on; 3) shop 
preferentially for un-copy-protected software— SUPERCALC3 
(p. 67) over 1-2-3 (p. 68), for example, or ENABLE (p. 109) 
over FRAMEWORK (p. 110) ; 4) go ahead and use programs 
like COPY II (p. 172) to defeat the copy protection on software 
you use. RICHARD DALTON: "I have no compunction 
whatsoever, ethical or otherwise, to fitting software to my 
system in a way that makes it reasonable to run and to protect 
my investment. Protected software is like having a copyright 
restriction on a book that only allows you to read it with a 
flashlight." The issue of copy protection is treated, with 
considerable heat on both sides, as if it were some 
monumental new problem. It's not; it's like what was worked 
out with photocopying— you can copy for convenience, but if 
you sell what you copy, you're in serious legal trouble. 

Good software is reasonably priced. Most isn't. Most spelling 
checkers cost upwards of $125. The best one— WORD PROOF 
(p. 62)— costs $60. Most word processors cost $300-600. One 

of the best— PC WRITE (p. 59)— costs $10. Because the prices 
are kept up by confusion in the marketplace, prices of software 
will come down only when careful shoppers drive them down- 
it's already under way. Meantime, check out discount mail order, 
p. 23, and public domain (free) software, p. 25 and in the index. 

Send in the warranty card. If it's a machine, you may well need 
the service. If it's software, the manufacturer will keep you 
informed of updates and offer very good exchange deals 
($10-200) for new versions, which you should get. You already 
know the program, and it knows you; new versions won't violate 
that, they'll reward your loyalty. 

Never fight a problem in the system for more than an hour 
without making a phone call. First call the friend who has a 
system like yours. Then call the dealer who sold you the thing 
that isn't working. Then call the software company. Then call the 
hardware company. New systems don't work— especially if 
there's a printer or modem involved. It's not your fault. It's 
theirs; your responsibilty is to hold their nose to the fire until 
they fix your problem. Be of good cheer— systems work 
beautifully eventually, and you'll leam a lot that's useful getting 

The secret to succeeding with computers is to futz with them. 

BART EISENBERG: Push buttons, move text, insert lines, hit 
control characters, add dot commands, bring up menus, invoke 
commands and invoke more of them. Try it backwards, try it 
sideways, try it upside down. The method, if you can call it that, 
is vaguely scientific— in that you perform some action and 
observe the results. A playful attitude will get you further with 
these machines than weeks of serious endeavor. 

Join a user group for your machine. KEVIN KELLY: One of the 
most unreported grassroot phenomena in America must be 
computer user groups. I estimate there are at least 2,000 groups 
meeting right now. Each one serves a small regional area, 
composed of members in love with all microcomputers or only 
one brand. Despite the absence of a national association or 
newsletter, the groups have arisen independently in a similar 
form all across the country. There is a remarkable agreement of 
intent, purpose and style. Using our user group in Atlanta as an 
example, we meet once a month to discuss technical problems, 
flag new products, swap software, gossip, and co-op buy items 
like disks. We put out a monthly newsletter. Being more 
organized than many, we may ask experts or vendors to speak at 
the meetings. The chief purpose really is to fill the vacuum of 
information left by the rocketing advance of microcomputers- 
machines and software arriving light-years ahead of their 
instructions. User groups are the guiding hands across this 
stellar gap. The user groups also stepped into another vacuum- 
software review. OIlie asks if anyone has tried out any new 
software lately, and Andy gets up and says he's tried 
SCREENWRITER and it stinks. Well, SCREENWRITER has just 
lost 126 buyers right off the bat in northeast Georgia. More if you 
count the trickle effect. If the same number of people showed up 
for, say, peace or politics, with as much regularity, devotion, 
interest, and influence as they bring to user groups, they'd be 
running the country. 

^^*^g^^^»^^^^«*«»^^^^^^M^^^^^ ^ ^i^ ^^«fta^^^^fe %te« »^-!^^ 

U LruLral 



Through the MicroMaze: A Visual Guide 
to Getting Organized; Wayne Creekmore 
and Stephanie Behasa; 1984; 64 pp.; 
$9.95; Asliton-Tate Publishing Group, 
8901 La Cienega Blvd., Inglewood, CA 
90301; 800/437-4329 or, in CA, 
303/799-4900; or COMPUTER LITERACY. 


The Personal Computer Book; Peter McWilliams 
rev. ed., 1984; 299 pp.; $9.95; Quantum Press/ 
Doubleday & Co., Inc., 501 Franklin Avenue. 
Garden City, NY 11530; 516/294-4400; or 




, Uiiii'" 


How to Buy Software; Alfred Glossbrenner; 1984; 
648 pp.; $14.95; St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth 
Avenue, New York, NY 10010; 212/674-5151 ; or 

STEWART BRAND: These stand head, shoulders, and torso 
above the competition as introductory computer books. The 
MicroMaze book because it is so graphically inviting and 
sophisticated about the utter basics. Peter McWilliams' 
Personal Computer Book because it is irreverent, accessible, 
and full of clear explanations and frequent sharp advice. Alfred 
Glossbrenner's How to Buy Software because it is the definitive 
text— the book we most strongly recommend as supplement to 
the Whole Earth Software Catalog. 

Through the MicroMaze is the introductory computer book I've 
been waiting for. Its subject is the setting up of your personal 
computer scene— that two week obstacle that keeps the 
almost-ready-to-jump from jumping. How to lay out your work 
area, how to hook everything up, how to get fluent in the 

fundamentals of your computer's operating system. With color 
pictures and good clear diagrams and, most important, really 
sensible advice, the book is a comfort and a blessing. The 
operating systems covered are MS-DOS (IBM PCs, Compaqs, 
etc.) and CP/M (Kaypros, Morrows, Apples with CP/M card). 
That leaves out the Apple lie and lie, Macintosh, Commodore 
64, and laptop portables. 

The McWilliams Personal Computer Book is a publishing 
success story. Self-published until this October '84 edition 
from Doubleday, it was frequently updated and far more 
personal, funny, and judgmental of products than is the New 
York norm, and it sold like crazy. This edition, Peter's last, is 
completely revised with a full 100 pages more than before. For 
McWilliams' word on word processing, see p. 48. 

Glossbrenner's amazing book has the best explanation I've 
seen anywhere of how personal computers work, put strictly in 
terms of a shopper's perspective. Dense with good 
information, the book is big and comprehensive but never 
heavy. Its rich sprinkling of tidbits and tips keep you turning 
the pages looking for more. The book is divided, like ours, into 
chapters on each kind of software. The shopping advice is 
sound enough and general enough that it's surprisingly up to 
date for an early 1984 book. For Glossbrenner on public 
domain software, see p. 25, on telecommunicating, p. 139. 

The Book Company annually does The Book of IBM Software, 
The Book of Apple Software, The Book of Commodore 64 
Software ($19.95, IBM and Commodore versions; $24.95, 
Apple version; Arrays, Inc./The Book Division, 11223 So. 
Hindry Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90045; 213/410-9466; or 
COMPUTER LITERACY) which have good evaluative comments 
on a fair range of programs. 

Digital Deli, edited by Steve Ditlea, has computer gossip, 
much of it great computer gossip. A couple days with this well- 
edited book can save you two years of perusing 15 computer 
magazines to acquire the anecdotal ambience it takes to feel 
comfortable around computer fanatics. The scores of 
contributors, a who's-who of computerdom, cover a multitude 
of inside perspectives and fringe ravings. They directly convey 
the excitement and bemusement these machines keep 
reinspiring. (Digital Deli; 1984, 398 pp., $9.95 from Workman 
Publishing, 1 West 39th St., New York, NY 10018; 
800/722-7202; or COMPUTER LITERACY.) 

The purchase price of the program 
is probabiy the smallest expense 

ii¥ liFf mil 


GERALD M. WEINBERG: Once upon a time, I wanted to be a 
high school track star Fortunately, only one other kid in the 
school was willing to run as far as a mile, so I was assured a 
place on the team even though I couldn't run very fast. All the 
same, I often earned a medal in dual meets because the other 
schools were in the same situation— they had one good miler, 

like my teammate, and one turkey. My strategy was to let their 
turkey trot himself out trying to keep up with the two leaders. At 
the three-quarter mark, I would usually pass him as he lay 
puking on the inside lane. 

Track has come a long way in 35 years. In my day, girls weren't 
allowed to run a mile. Today, Eagle Junior High School has at 
least ten girls who can beat my lifetime personal best. In today's 
improved environment, my method of making the team simply 
doesn't work. And it's the same in software. When Apples first 
fell off the tree in the Garden of Eden, any software that could 
run a mile could make the team. Today, there may be a hundred 
packages that can go the distance, so we need more 
sophisticated selection methods. 

Perhaps we can use the packaging as a criterion: Does he look 
like a miler? Does it look like a slick spreadsheet? Well , my 
running shirt says "Sub-4,"—underfourminutes-but that's my 
time for the half-mWe, so you know you can't believe what it says 
on the package. Perhaps we can use a trial run at the computer 
store? We haven't room to let him run, but look how well he lifts 
weights! No, we've all fallen for that one, too. There's really no 
alternative: To pick winners with any consistency, buyers have to 
learn sophisticated evaluation methods. 

In my work consulting with large data processing organizations, 
I recommend a multistep selection method based largely on the 
work of Tom Gilb and Ken Orr. I use exactly the same method 
when selecting software for our little office, so I believe just 
about anyone can use it. The method resembles the way you'd 
produce a winning miler, and has four major steps: 

The preparation step encompasses all the work you do before 
you even look at the candidates. Preparation itself has three 
substeps: define objectives, estimate investment, and budget for 
the decision. 

Objectives-what you expect the software to accomplish-have 
to come first. If you don't know what you want, how can you 
hope to get it? 

Of course, you might be lucky. The people who produced the 
package surely know your needs, don't they? They don't, but 
you still have another out, something psychologists call 
"cognitive dissonance." You may fall in love with your stupid 
purchase in order not to feel stupid. Cognitive dissonance lets 
you love anything you buy. If the product causes you 
immeasurable pain, you'll probably boast, "No pain, no gain." 

If you're not into pain, though, try defining your problem before 
you start shopping for software solutions. Start with a general 
list of objectives, which you will later refine into more 
quantitative form. 

The next step is to estimate your investment. A list of investment 
factors should look like this: 





The package 



Real Cost $ 

On this list, training is the cost of preparing people in your firm 
to use the new software, and you must not forget those people 
who aren't yet around. To estimate complete training costs, 
then, you must estimate the next iactor- lifetime, or how long 
you will use the package before replacing it. You'll also need to 
know the lifetime to estimate usage and maintenance 
investments. Usage is the cost of labor, space and supplies 
needed to operate the system. l\/laintenance is the cost of 

keeping it running-fixing bugs or working around them, 
installing new versions, or supplying enhancements to get 
exactly what you want. 

Like the cost of the package, in-conversion is a one-time cost, 
independent of lifetime. In-conversion is the cost of changing 
over from your present system- reformatting your existing data 
files, for example, or modifying your operating system. Out- 
conversion is the cost of getting rid of the package when you go 
on to something bigger and better. Out-conversion can cost 100 
times the initial package cost, as when you replace one 
programming language with a different version, or when you 
have accumulated hundreds of files that have to be translated. 

When my office recently changed its word-processing software, 
these costs broke down roughly as follows: 

The package 

$50-500 X 4 copies 


2 years 


40 hours per person x 4 people 


20 hours per week per person 

(no difference in supplies) 


2 hours per week for one person 


From $0 to cost of rekeying all files 


From $0 to cost of rekeying all files 

A hobbyist might set the labor cost at zero, making the package 
cost the only factor, but we're in business and have to put a price 
on our labor Even at $10 per hour, the usage cost over a two- 
year lifetime would dominate all others; ultimately, according to 
the estimate, we'd wind up investing close to $100,000 in this 
word processor The point of making such an estimate up front 
is not to be exact, but to gain a sense of what we're deciding and 
what alternatives we have. Given the above figures, a more 
efficient package that would save one hour per week per person 
would be worth at least $7,000. Therefore, our estimate tells 
us we can afford to consider rather "expensive" software that a 
hobbyist might not be able to justify. 

The estimate also indicates the size of the decision we face. As a 
rule of thumb, I always budget 2 per cent of the estimated total 
cost for the decision process, and thus would be willing to invest 
several thousand dollars in making this choice. Without the 
estimate as a guide, this might seem an unreasonable amount to 
spend in deciding on one package. The hobbyist might allocate 
an equivalent amount of personal labor, but almost nothing in 
terms of out-of-pocket cost. 

On the other hand, without the estimate as a guide, we might 
waste too much time on a decision. In certain circumstances- 
for example, when we needed a package that would be used 
sparingly by only one person for a limited time-it would be 
cheaper to buy the first satisfactory product that came to our 
attention. The estimate itself can usually be made with sufficient 
accuracy in fifteen minutes. 

If only a few people can run a mile, each can be considered in 
some detail, but if many can, efficiency demands some initial 
qualifying heats. The same is true for packages. Where there are 
many candidates, I allocate about half the decision budget for 
eliminating the unhealthy, leaving half for picking the fittest from 
among the few remaining. 

(continued on p. 8) 


(continued from p. 7) 

By "unhealthy" I mean "doesn't meet my objectives." For 
example, if I need a database manager that can handle multiple- 
disk files, I can immediately eliminate those that cannot. I won't 
be swayed by a sales pitch claiming "three times the speed"- 
what good is fast access if it can't handle my whole file? To avoid 
this kind of trouble at the point of purchase, potential buyers 
need to distinguish between functions and attributes. Functions 
are things the software musr have; the question to ask here is 
"Yes or no?" (Is it there or isn't it?) Attributes are things it 
would be niceto have; the relevant question here is "How much 
does it cost?" It's obvious from this distinction why we look first 
at functions, then at attributes. If we're looking for triathletes 
(swim, bike and run), then we're not impressed by the marathon 
times of nonswimmers. As John von Neumann once put it, 
"There's no sense being precise about something if you don't 
even know what you're talking about." 

In your search for office automation software, you might need 
such functions as: /Wa/nfa/V? manuscript files; Produce printed 
manuscripts; and fra/ysm/f electronic manuscripts. So when you 
examine particular packages, you need to determine whether 
these functions are present or absent. Go down your list of 
specifications and ask "Yes or no?" for each one. If you need to, 
you can break down each of your specifications into necessary 
subfunctions. For instance, you might break down Produce 
printed manuscripts into: Number pages; Extracttable of 
contents; Print Mer quality; and Provide math symbols. 
Someone else might require line drawings but not math 
symbols. Only by successively and explicitly refining your own 
objectives will you avoid buying a package that perfectly fits 
someone else's needs. 

Here are three universal standards that should head your list of 

1. It must work. 

2. It must work in your environment. 

3. It must work in your environment tomorrow. 

If you can't get "yes" answers to these three questions, asking 
about specific functions won't make much difference. 

This may seem ridiculous, but I assure you it is not. I recently 
spent $25 for a financial application to work on my Commodore 
8096. At that price, I couldn't afford too much investigation. The 
program was advertised to work with disk systems, but it came 
on a cassette. When I wrote to complain, the company replied 
that "all you have to do is transfer it from cassette to disk." 
When I wrote again to say that I didn't have a cassette drive, 
they wrote to say that I should "get someone in the 
neighborhood with a cassette drive to do it." My only neighbors 
are cows, and the nearest cassette-equipped 8096 is 60 miles 

Cheap Tests for Trouble 

Nevertheless, I eventually did get the cassette transcribed (my 
in-conversion cost now exceeded the purchase price). The 
program never worked on disk, however, and an examination of 
the source code showed that it never could have worked with a 
disk system. In retrospect, of course, I should have dropped it 
the minute I learned what "works with disk systems" meant to 
the producer. Even if I had written off my $25 at that point and 
thrown the program away, I would have been way ahead of 
where I finally wound up after transcribing the tape. 

If you're looking for a miler, you don't want someone who can't 
climb a flight of stairs without pausing for breath. Until there are 
enforced industry standards for software, you need to look out 
for quick signs of serious trouble. To start with, when a package 
doesn't install as advertised, send it back immediately for a 
refund— there are bound to be other faults. 

Next, inspect all available written material for poor quality-a 
sure sign of danger Errors in a product are like cockroaches in a 
kitchen-there's never just one, and they're never all in the 
same drawer I recently received a mail advertisement for a 
spelling corrector The ad contained two spelling errors. Three 
months later, the company folded. A friend of mine bought a 
statistical package. The manual contained an example giving the 
population distribution of various counties by sex and income. 
In one of the counties the distribution was 75 per cent males and 
88 per cent females. The program was of the same quality. 

Put prospective dealers to the test. If they can't refer you to 
actual users, look for another package— unless your objective is 
to be a software pioneer, complete with arrows in your back. If 
you get referrals from a dealer and discover that these buyers 
don't use the package, back off! But if they're using it and say 
they don't ///re it, don't be overly disturbed. At least they're using 
it. Ask them what specifically they don't like. You might not even 
be interested in those features. 

Remember, too, that the software must continueto work in your 
environment, which is largely a function of the quality of the 
dealer. If your dealer doesn't answer calls, find another dealer 
Dealers who won't respond to a sales prospect will never 
respond to a request for service. You can test dealers further by 
calling and pretending that you have already purchased the 
package but are having some difficulty. If they aren't helpful and 
courteous, look elsewhere. Also look for another dealer if you 
can't try out the system in the store, or if they don't seem to 
have a manual around for you to read. Finally, avoid any dealer 
who answers your questions by slapping you on the back and 
saying, "No problem!" 

Once you have eliminated the candidates that can't run the 
distance, or are likely to have a stroke trying, you might find 
yourself with one or zero remaining packages. In that case, the 
decision-making process is essentially oven If you still have two 
or more packages to choose from, you can then begin to 
measure fitness by checking attributes. Generally, you can 
assess attributes with respect to three distinct variables: 
resources, satisfaction and lifetime. Resources are what the 
attribute will cost you— in money time, people, space and 
supplies. Satisfaction is what you will get out of it-ease of use, 
performance, security, pleasure, inspiration, pride. Lifetime is ' 
how long the attribute will continue to yield the satisfaction your 
resources have bought-correctability, modifiability, portability 
scope of application. 

When you have written down the various attributes, you can 
use Tom Gilb's Mecca Method to measure the fitness of each 
candidate. First you attach a metricto each attribute. The figure 
shows a simplified example of three metrics you might assign to 
the attributes of an accounts receivable system. Each attribute is 
reduced here to specific quantitative measures. If you can't 


produce such a measure, then you don't have an attribute. 
Sometimes assigning a number value is difficult, but in those 
cases you'll always learn something important from the effort. 
For instance, "reliability" sounds nice in any system, but unless 
you translate it into something measurable, you'll be a sucker 
for the first smooth sales pitch. 






















overall arable = „ ». --. 

Once you have the metrics, you must set a goal and assign a 
weight to each attribute to show what will be satisfactory and 
how important it is to you. Again, trying to assign these goals 
and weights will tend to expose your unstated— and thus 
dangerous— assumptions. 

Once you're finished, you are ready to examine the actual 
candidates, making a score sheet for each. Take the grade sheet 
with you when you talk to a salesperson or to your friends and 
use it as a checklist. The sheet will keep you from being swayed 
by others' enthusiasm and from forgetting something important. 
Translating everything into numbers tends to bring blue-sky 
talkers down to earth. If you can't get the information to fill in 
your grade sheet, don't buy the package. 

Each grade sheet will yield an overall score for its package. Use 
good sense in interpreting these scores. The difference between 
.745 and .750 cannot truly be significant in light of the rough 
nature of the calculations. If the packages are this close, you can 
flip a coin, or choose the one in the shiny box. But where the 
scores are, say, .49 and .75, the package with .49 will probably 
be much less satisfactory than the other. Still, never go against 
your instincts. If you're still inclined to buy the .49, even after 
you've compared the scores, it would be a good idea to 
reexamine your application of the Mecca Method. The package 
you favor might have an important attribute that you haven't 
identified explicitly, or perhaps one of its attributes is more 
important to you than you realized. Repeat the method as many 
times as necessary to get a good feeling about your decision, 
dropping out obvious losers each time. At the very least, each 
repetition will give you a better understanding of yourself, which 
is always worth the time invested. 

Once you've chosen your potential champion, you've begun 
your relationship with the package. Choosing is not the same as 
purchasing, and you can often make up deficiencies in the 
package by negotiating with the vendor. In such a situation, the 
grade sheet can guide the negotiation by showing correctable 
weak spots. A friend of mine wanted a word processor whose 
spelling corrector graded low on speed. After seeing the grade 
sheet, the dealer tossed in a free stand-alone corrector. Another 
friend narrowed down her choice to two accounting packages 
that graded dead even. Using the grade sheets, she showed 
each dealer what he would have to do to raise his product's 
grade. In the end, she got a smart keyboard at half price to 
overcome one package's problems with keyed control 

Even after making the purchase, you're still far from finished. 
Using a new package is very much like taking up running. 
Champions are made, not born, and the road to championship 
goes through four clearly identifiable stages: pain, stumbling, 
romance and realism. 

In the pain stage, the package will seem impossible to use. You 
might need a lot of help from the vendor, who could suddenly be 
hard to find. Remember that only 2 per cent of your estimated 
cost was dedicated to the choice. Before long, your investment 
in the vendor's system will be a hundred times greater than the 
vendor's investment in yot/r system. You can avoid a great deal 
of pain if you negotiate a 30-day money-back guarantee, giving 
the vendor an incentive to help you reach the stumbling stage. 

In the stumbling stage, usage will be clumsy and inefficient, but 
you will probably have surpassed your vendor's knowledge. 
Now is the time to get in touch with other users. One good user 
group is worth fifty poor manuals. Other users can teach you 
about those obscure features you skipped when reading the 
manual— or that aren't even in the manual. A few minutes of 
discussion can save you many hours of work. Even so, you 
should now read the manual a second time, and a third. You 
may even begin to appreciate it, which is a sure sign you're 
falling in love with the package. 

In the romance stage, you'll believe the package is the Olympic 
Games, and you are the gold medalist. Prospective buyers 
looking for information should steer clear of users in the 
romance stage. They can be identified by their inability to give 
any rational reply to the question, "What won't it do?" Most 
package users never graduate from the romance stage, because 
they are unable to overcome the power of cognitive dissonance. 
Who cares what it costs, as long as you feel like a champion? 

To realize the full payoff on your investment, you must be able to 
identify specific shortcomings of the package for specific jobs. 
When you've reached this stage, that of realism, you've become 
the ideal referral for prospective buyers. You can help fill out 
f/7e/rgrade sheets, to find a package that meets frte/r objectives. 
In fact, you'll be ready then to retire from racing and start 
coaching . Or to start looking for a replacement package of your 




Mithridatism— Tolerance for a poison acquired by taldng 
graduaily larger doses of it— mithridatic. 

The American Heritage Dictionary 

Computer magazines are mitfiridatic. You always start with one, 
build up to doses which would kill a beginner, and probably end 
up immune to all of them. —Tony Fanning 

STEWART BRAND: Welcome to a field where the magazines are 
more important than the books. (Check p. 202 for indexes of 
each.) Books serve well for whole overviews (like this one, 
hopefully, and the ones on p. 6) and for specialized use, but 
books by themselves, including this one, are simply too out of 
date, and books don't teach as well as magazines do. Magazines 
give you the seething marketplace (some publications too heavy 
to read in bed because of their weight of advertising) and the 

voices of confusion and reassurance of users and reviewers and 
ware designers soft and hard. You can study a book; you wade 
into magazines. 

Since computer magazines are notoriously ephemeral (no other 
section of this book has changed as much since last year), you 
might think twice before getting long subscriptions. I would not 
be surprised if this list were fifty percent different again next 
year, and we're recommending the stabler magazines. Computer 
mags live by the volatility of the computer business, and they die 
by it. And they still haven't caught on that it's safer to serve 
readers than advertisers. 

All of the Domain Editors studied software reviews collected for 
them from dozens of periodicals and immersed themselves in 
the detailed market-watching that goes with trying to anticipate 
your situation and opportunities in the winter of '85-'86. The 
magazines reviewed here are ones that served us best and 
should do the same for you. Many of us have worked for and will 
work for various of these publications, so bear in mind that our 
judgement may be too intimate. We're reviewing our relatives, 
with relish. 

The industry, with glee . . . 

$31/yr (weekly); InfoWorld, P.O. Box 1018, 
Southeastern, PA 19398-9982; 800/544-3712 or, in 
PA, 215/768-0388. 

STEWART BRAND: Our favorite, the source of 
the most conversation that begins, "Didja see 
in . . . ?" 

ALFRED LEE: Two years ago I took a break 
from an accumulating burden of personal 
paperwork to drive across the continent with 
my family I had already begun to suppose 
that a personal computer might help me fight 
my way out of the paper, and the long trip 
included trance-like stretches (e.g., Kansas) 
when I thought about all the wonderful things 
a computer at home might do for me. When 
we got back to New Jersey, my first trip to a 
computer store taught me in five minutes that 
I had no business out on the street with a 
credit card in my state of ignorance. 

That same day I saw the tabloid InfoWorld 
perched between Rolling Stone and 
Penthouse at the local tobacconist. It 
changed my life. 

At my level of experience, then and now, the 
breezy daily-newspaper style trivializes the 
subject matter, which is what I need. Makes 
me feel like I can hack it. At first I'd buy it at 
the tobacconist's whenever the cover 
motivated me, then every week just to read 
John C. Dvorak's column, then I subscribed. 
What I like best about Dvorak is that he walks 
over cliches as if over water, keeping his feet 
dry by boldfacing the cliches. 


The news notes are compressed enough that I 
can get a feeling for microcomputer trends by 
osmosis. The weekly "theme" was more 
instructive when I was greenhorn than now. 
The reviews aren't more timely descriptive, 
or reliable than in the monthlies, but four 
issues cover more new products than any 
four monthlies. 

Few if any issues are "exciting," in the way a 
single issue of Byte or PC Magazine can hit 
several different topics that interest me. It's 
more lovable than great; I crawl into bed with 
it for two or three hours every week, then 
count the days until it comes round again. 
Reading InfoWorld was the first step I took 
toward mechanizing my professional life, and 
it's still an instructive hobby, still a serial 
guidebook to the industry 

DARRELL ICENOGLE: Even those who hate it 
read it. It captures the spirit of the fast- 
moving industry better than any other mag. 

TONY FANNING: InfoWorld and PC Week are 

great! It's wonderful not being tied to the 

normal 3-4 month lead time which monthlies 

can't avoid. I like the sense of 

ACCE L E R A T I N a weekly 


CHARLES SPEZZANO: The reviews in 
InfoWorld are too inaccurate too often for me 
to know when to take them seriously 

STEWART BRAND: The problem with the 
reviews, as with nearly all computer 
magazines, is that they're not comparative 
enough. Something will get blasted or praised 
strictly in its own terms; you can't tell if the 
reviewer has any experience with competing 
products. InfoWorld reviews are long and 
searching and cover hardware as well as soft, 
but you have to read carefully between the 
lines to get full value. 


White water rafting on your 
IBtVI PC compatible .. . 

Free to qualified subscribers; $120/yr (52 issues); 
PC Week, 15 Crawford Street, Needham, MA 
02194; 617/449-6520. 

RICHARD DALTON: More comprehensive and 
better written (surprisingly) than either PC or 
PC WORLD who both seem to be trying for 
the statesman position in the PC/MS-DOS 
segment. PC Week is closer to InfoWorld; the 
others looking to out-Byte each other Not 
unimportantly it's free to "qualified 
subscribers," which seems to be people with 
an interest in the subject and residual 
eyesight great enough to at least scan the 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: Once you get past 
the first couple of pages the magazine often 
reads like a rehash of press releases, but if 
you're determined to know about the latest 
products that work with (or instead of) your 
IBM PC or compatible, you'll find the news 


Mmm mml Bmm§k 

Binding tlie generations . . . 

$19.97/yr (12 issues); Family Computing, P.O. Box 
2886, Boulder, CO 80322; 800/525-0643 or, in CO, 

STEWART BRAND: For me the tiredest 
question in tlie business is, "Wliat use do 
computers have in the home?" Every month 
this magazine comes up with 100 pages or so 
of answers —stuff for the l(ids, stuff for home 
business, and home application goodies from 
party planning to cooking to home finance, it 
has brief but useful product reviews. If your 
family is unsure about whether getting a 
computer is worth the cost and nuisance, 
watch this magazine for a couple months and 
see if you're enticed. My hunch is that TVs 
divide the family somewhat, while computers 
connect it somewhat, since both l<id and 
grownup may be equal beginners. But beware 
the resentment of anyone left out (many a ^ 
wife, many a daughter, I am told). 

Moving up 


$25/yr (12 issues); Business Software, P.O. Box 
27975, San Diego, CA 92128; 415/424-0600. 

STEWART BRAND: Important subject, good 
magazine. There are innumerable computer 
magazines aimed at business, but nearly all 
of them lust after the Fortune 500 and their 
megacorporate needs for Big Glitter. This 
modest publication just minds the store, 
thank you very much, and does so in a 
businesslike way. A business never stops 
shopping for software and never, if it's 
smart, makes a rash decision about what set 
of programs to stake its life on. Business 
Software does nicely as an ongoing guide. 

Everytlting for everybody in business . . . 

$11.97/yr (12 issues); Popular Computing, P.O. 
Box 307, Martinsville, NJ 08836; 800/258-5485 or, 
in NH, 603/924-9281. 

STEWART BRAND: In the shoot-out for top 
general computer magazine we prefer 
Popular Computing over the equally popular 
Personal Computing. The range, the 
carefulness, the writing quality, the general 
usefulness look consistently better to us, but 
a newcomer to the field may want both for a 
while, just to get up to speed. 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: Popular's range 
changed in the last year. They're now aiming 
editorial content directly at business users 
and, for the most part, ignoring home 
computer users. Personal, so far, continues 
to cut a wide swath between the two, trying to 
sati&fy both. Personal is fatter. Popular is 

$18/yr (4 Issues); Whole Earth Review, 27 Gate 
Five Rd., Dept. SC, Sausalito, CA 94965; 

STEWART BRAND: Since there's no chance 
of objectivity reviewing our own magazine, 
I'll try only to describe where we fit in the 
computer magazine spectrum. The definitive 
elements are: no advertising, nonprofit, 
computers-in-context. That makes our 
reviews more comparative and judgemental 
than most others'— as you can see (many of 
the reviews in this 2.0 edition of the Whole 
Eartli Software Catalog first appeared in the 
Wliole Eartii Review). In a field driven by 
marketing, the Review works at bypassing 
the hype, connecting users and designers 
directly. In a field that acts as if it were the 
entire universe, the Review works at 
connecting computers to the rest of life. 
About 20-25 pages of each 144-page issue is 
about computers— serving as a quarterly 
update to the book you're holding. More info 
on page 3. 

Good old . . . 


$24.97/yr (12 issues); Creative Computing, P.O. 
Box 2886, Boulder, CO 80322; 800/525-0643 or, in 
CO, 303/447-9330. 

STEWART BRAND: Now up to Volume 11 
(1985), this quiet, competent magazine 
predates the computing marketing frenzy of 
the mid-'80s, so it has managed to maintain 
a rare unhysterical perspective. It's like 
having a great uncle who is pleased you've 
become interested in a field he's been 
hacking in since the early '60s. Without 
condescension Creative Computing educates 
and encourages, turning outsiders into 
insiders. It covers the whole field, from 
home computers to office net machines like 
the IBM PC AT 

$15/yr (12 issues); Patch Publishing Co., Inc., 407 
S. Washington Ave., RO. Box F, Titusville, FL 
32781-9990; 800/327-9926 or. In FL, 

ART KLEINER: The heart of this newsprint 
tabloid is classifieds — used computers, mail- 
order software— and listings— user's groups, 
bulletin boards, and meetings. Range, 
nationwide. Features are uneven, but they 
cover each major type of micro and pick up 
on low-cost and public domain news that 
most other magazines miss. I've come to feel 
affection for it in a gritty technical kind of 

RICHARD DALTON: Readers in Northern 
California will be better off with Computer 
Currents (free at computer stores, 
newsstands, libraries, colleges and 
universities. Home delivery: S18/yr(25 
issues); Center Productions, 2550 9th St., 
Berkeley, CA 94710; 415/848-6860)— better 
industry coverage and better prices than 
Computer Shopper, and it's free. 


Valuable reviews 

©fiCTMiAfae n 


$185/yr (10 issues; includes 10 free back issues); 
Software Digest, 1 Winding Dr., Philadelpliia, PA 
19131; 800/223-7093 or, in PA, 800/222- 3315. 

STEWART BRAND: The closest thing to 
Consumer Reports that exists for software. 
If you buy software at all professionally, it's 
certain to be worth the substantial price. 
Nobody does as thorough a job of 

comparing programs feature by feature, 
virtue by virtue, in painstaking fashion. Each 
major application program for MS-DOS 
(only) machines is tested by new users, 
bench-tested (for speed primarily), 
compared to its competition, and rated. 
While we do not always agree with Software 
Digest's summary ratings (they often weight 
ease-of-learning much too heavily over 
other more important qualities that only 
show up over time), we make considerable 
use of their research, often drawing on their 
detailed findings to come to a quite different 
conclusion about a program. 

The publication comes out ten times a year, 
each time on a different kind of program- 
Word Processors; File Managers; Relational 
Databases; Spreadsheets; 
Integrateds; Graphics; 
Project Management, 
etc. — 60 pages or 
so of invaluable 

Flashy original; homely, loveable 
newcomer . . . 

$30/year (13 issues); Macworld, R 0. Box 20300, 
Bergenfield, NY 07621; 415/861-3861. 


$18/year (12 issues); Icon Concepts Corp, RO. 
Box 1936, Athens, TX 75751; 214/677-2793. 

JAY KINNEY: When the Macintosh was first 
unveiled, Macworld was the magazine to get 
if you wanted to stay informed about the 
latest peripherals, software, and other news 
related to this ground-breaking machine. In 
fact, the early issues of Macworld rivaled— 
and in some cases surpassed— the user 
handbooks that come with the Mac: since ad 
pages were still relatively scarce, Macworld 
fleshed out the magazine with thorough 
introductions to all aspects of the machine 
and the initial software releases. Now, with 
the trickle of Mac software grown into a 
steady stream, Macworld has come to 
resemble most other machine-specific 
publications, with briefer articles drowning 
in a sea of ads. 

i find it worthwhile to supplement my 
scanning of Macworld with the regular 
perusal of a second publication, the 
Macazine. Formerly a Mac newsletter called 
Concepts, the Macazine is now a monthly 
slick-paper, multi-color publication featuring 
a higher percentage of critical, down-to- 
earth reviews of Mac programs than you'll 
find anywhere else. In distinct contrast to 
Macworld, there's a strong dose of 
amateurism at work in the Macazine, which 
means that articles tend to be unpolished 
reports from nonwriter types including user- 
group leaders, cottage-level software 
developers, and just plain average Mac 
owners. The Macazine is simultaneously 
homely and loveable, and nigh impossible to 
find on newsstands. 

Indispensable Apple II mag . . . 

k+ o 

$24.97/yr (12 issues); A+ , RO. Box 2965, 
Boulder, CO 80322; 800/525-0643 or, in CO, 

STEVEN LEVY: With the premature demise of 
Softalk, my favorite Apple II magazine is 
k+ . Though the tone of the magazine is 
stiffer than was Softalk's, and doesn't quite 
reflect the freewheeling spirit of the Apple 
world, A+ has a cleaner, easy-to-read look 
and plenty of helpful articles. Products for 
the Apple II family are usually reviewed in 
roundup articles (one month you'll see 
music-making software, another month a 
comparison of modems). This is not as 
useful as a continual barrage of new-product 
reviews. But if nothing else, A-i- is 
indispensable for its ad pages, which 
represent a virtual catalog of what's new for 
my machine. 

Problem-solving for Commodore users 

$24/yr (12 issues); COMPUTE!, Circulation Dept., 
RO. Box 961, Farmingdale, NY 11737; 800/334- 
0868 or, in NC, 919/275-9809. 

parent magazine, COMPUTE!, also devotes 
quite a bit of space to the Commodore 64, 
the Gazette is more useful, as it addresses 
strictly Commodore issues. As with any 
publication dependent on advertising, 
reviews are rarely sharply critical— but the 
Gazette does not hesitate to report bugs and 
suggest alternatives in its in-depth columns 
and tutorials. The "Feedback" column is 
particularly helpful, consisting of readers' 
comments, questions, and surprisingly 
elegant solutions to problems. --'^ 

Everything for the IBM PC-compatible . . . 

PC (The Independent Guide to IBM Personal 
Computers); $34.97/yr (26 issues); PC Magazine, 
RO. Box 2886, Boulder, CO 80322; 800/525-0643 
or, in CO, 303/447-9330. 

STEWART BRAND: A year or so after the 
introduction of the IBM PC computer, PC 
Magazine split in two over a management/ 
ownership beef, and the aggrieved "good 
guys" went away and started PC World. After 
two years of head-to-head competition, 
they're both alive and well— PC the more so, 
in our opinion. PC World does good things, 
but PC has more goods more often (biweekly 
instead of monthly) more translatable into 
direct use. You'll need a sturdy shelf for back 
issues— the magazine is fat and frequent- 
but there's no better way to keep up with the 
huge volume of good stuff that continues to 
pour out for MS-DOS machines. 





Pm Mm fegwfflMi 

Technical authority . . 

$21/yr (12 issues); Byte, P.O. Box 590, 
Martinsville, NJ 08836; 800/258-5485 or. In NH, 

microcomputer field— particularly 
innovations— in depth. Technically accurate 
and objective, it's part of the history and well 
aware of the responsibility this implies. 

STEWART BRAND: Barbara was a West Coast 
Editor of Byte before she came to Whole 
Earth. The magazine is for the profession, by 
the profession; many of the contributors are 
in the industry No computer magazine has 
better covers or better cover stories behind 
them on the major trends in the business. 
Nobody has more immediate and thorough 

coverage of new machines. Byte's long 
interview with the design team of the 
Macintosh was the best thing I saw anywhere 
on that machine, when everybody was 
covering it. Software coverage is techie — 
interesting but less useful to the buyer than 
others, and often late in the game. 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: Byte probably has 
more ads and more advertising revenue than 
any other computer magazine, yet I know 
from personal experience, as an editor at 
both Byte and Popular Computing, that 
publisher McGraw-Hill adamantly, rigidly, and 
actively protects the editorial staff from any 
possible pressure from advertising sales- 
people—so the salespeople don't even try. 

Byte's editorial plans include a new 
teleconferencing system called BIX, offered to 
subscribers at very low rates compared to the 
Source and CompuServe (p. 140). You're 
more lil<ely to find Byte editors and other 
techie types running conferences on 
microprocessor architecture and plasma 
displays than, say, gardening or how to 
choose a computer, but if that strikes your 
fancy, there'd be no better place online for 
that kind of interactive information. 

Delicious gossip from old pros . . . 

$15 (10 issues); DTACK Grounded, 1415 E. 
iVIcFadden, Suite F, Santa Ana, CA 92705; 

ALAN KALKER: Microcomputer drag racers 
hang out here. Over a six-pack of Heineken's 
dark they swap tales, dreams, and news of 
the latest high-speed gear: math chip 
turbochargers and 68000 hot rods with the 
DaTa ACKnowledged pin grounded (like 
welding the throttle full open). Your genial 
host makes even novices feel welcome with 
plainspeak explanations and a spicy fricassee 
of computer industry bloopers and quaint 
customs. Quite palatable if you have a strong 
stomach for droll parable and irreverent 

The setting is the back of a Santa Ana speed 
shop. Off in the corner, the mighty ONE 
MEGAFLOP is beginning to take shape. You 
can eavesdrop as an old pro (a relic of the 
days of bamboo slide rules) debates options 
for his newest creations with a peanut 
gallery of top university and industry 
hackers. Hang in there when the talk turns 
technical. Even if you have to skip parts 
requiring assembly language, you'll learn 
lots of fascinating stuff that will shape the 
future of micros and gain you an 
appreciation of true engineering elegance. 

The hacker's voice 

Dr. Dobb's Journal (Software Tools for Advanced 
Programmers); S25/yr (12 issues); P.O. Box 27809, 
San Diego, CA 92128; 415/424-0600. 

THOMAS SPENCE: Where InfoWorld is my 
meat and potatoes, I find Dr. Dobb's Journal 

is my monthly visit to a trade show 
"hospitality suite." Some months it is chips 
and dip and a Coke while other months it is 
cracked crab, caviar, and champagne. 

Dr. Dobb's is very much a "hacker's" 
magazine and makes no bones about it. Until 
recently contributors were not paid for their 
efforts. Even now submitted articles and 
programs are placed into the public domain. 

Dr. Dobb's seems to have its finger on the 
pulse of the proletariat of the computer 
world. This steady-handed approach in a 
computer magazine is a welcome relief from 
the blowin'-in-the-wind feeling I get from 
most other mags every time a new computer 
comes onto the market. 

I will probably never trash-can my Dr. Dobb's 
back issues, because they make excellent 
reference materials. Being that I am a 
programmer (software engineer?) by trade, I 
find back issues invaluable for finding tricks- 
of-the-trade subroutines. 

STEWART BRAND: Dr. Dobb himself, itself, 
reviews utility programs on our p. 173. 

From the Brits . . 

\3nu3 ^ 

UK £15, Overseas £40 (12 issues); Stuart 
Cruickshank, 53 Frith St., London W1A 2HG, 
England; 01-439-4242. 

STEWART BRAND: British computer 
journalism is significantly better than the 
American kind. Better writing, often better 
researching, more invidious comparison of 
products, greater passion. Since the U.K. 
computer market is about two years behind 
the U.S., a lot of that better journalism is 
directed at American products. There are 
dozens of good British computer mags, but 
the acknowledged best of the lot is Personal 
Computer World. As many people read 
London's The Economist to get perspective 
on the world of finance, you might read this 
magazine to get perspective on the computer 
world, particularly since it is increasingly a 
world phenomenon. 


mmwmt, mm mmm$ 

STEWART BRAND: Which machine you buy is the most 
irrevocable and consequential decision you make around 
personal computers. 1) Whatever you get, you're eliminating 
utterly all the software that doesn't run on your machine. 
2) You're making the biggest single expenditure of your 
system. And usually it's the first expenditure you make, when 
you know the least. 

So: buy conservative. Buy from a large, proven manufacturer. 
Buy a middle-of-the-road, popular machine with a wealth of 
software available for it— not too old, not too new. That 
preserves your options. There's always news going on in the 
hardware department— check our Last Minute Supplement on 
p. 209 for some— but don't buy into it unless you relish being 
a test pilot. 

At present you're offered five major choices: 

® Commodore 64 — cheapest 

® Apple lie or He— most home software, and some business 

® IBM PC and compatibles (Compaq, etc.)— most business 

software, and some home 
® Macintosh— graphic, innovative software for home and 

® AT&T UNIX PC— heavy duty business software 

Whichever road you choose eliminates the other four. 

Before detailed shopping, there are some technical generalities 
to address. Not many. If you know a little about Memory, 
Storage, and Operating Systems, you know enough to shop 

Memory. Expressed in K, as in "You need 192K of memory in 
order to run 1-2-3 on that machine" or "CP/M machines like 
the Kaypro are forever limited to 64K." More K is better K, and 
costs more. Memory is sort of like the machine's 
consciousness— the amount of material it can hold in mind at 
once to think about and act instantly upon. Machines with 
larger memories can work with more complex programs and 
work conspicuously faster. Another term for memory in this 
sense is RAM— Random Access Memory. With some machines 
you can add more memory as you go (in the form of 
"cards" — circuit boards you can easily install yourself in 
"slots" in the machine), a handy way to keep up with growing 

Storage. "Old-timers will tell you. If users will maim for main 
memory, they'll kill for disk storage." 

— John Gantz, InfoWorld. 

Also expressed in K. "How does the Macintosh get 400K on 
those 372 inch disks when the Hewlett-Packard 150 only gets 
270K?" The disk is where your information lives when it's not 
in active use. A "bigger" disk (more K) means bigger 
programs will run comfortably, and there's more room for your 
data files. One kilobyte (IK) equals about 150 words of text, so 
at 250 words per double-spaced page, a standard disk of 360K 
will hold 216 pages. 

There are only three consequential kinds of disk these days— 
the 51/4" "floppy" (Commodore, Apple, IBM, 160 to 1200K); 
the 3V2" "floppy" (more of a hardshell actually, some laptops, 
Macintosh, Amiga, 270 to 800K); and hard disk (Apple, IBM, 

Macintosh, 5 to 200-plus MB). Hard disk is what one aspires 
to. It measures storage in megabytes (MB), each megabyte a 
million bytes (1000K). Woody Liswood: "I cannot live without a 
hard disk. I really do not remember how I existed before. 
With 2.5 megabytes available for WORDSTAR and related 
spelling and grammar, and others, I am completely spoiled. 
The additional storage and quickness of response will save you 
hours of frustration in working with large files." 

Operating systems. This is the troublous realm of 
"compatibility." A program written for one operating system 
won't operate on another one unless it's translated, which is 
either a nuisance, expensive, or impossible, depending. "The 
IBM PC is a clunky machine, but everything runs on it," said 
editor Barbara Robertson, on her way to buying one. The 
IBM's operating system, PC DOS (generically, MS-DOS, hence 
the term "MS-DOS machines"), is the closest thing we have to 
a standard these days, so software writers flock to it, and so 
do hardware manufacturers in the 16-bit generation. Ah. 

There are three generations of personal computer hardware 
alive in the market just now. The oldest is 8-bit, with three 
different standard operating systems— Commodore 64, Apple 
II, and CP/M-80 (on machines like Kaypro and Morrow). The 
current dominant generation is 16-bit, with one standard 
(hence its attraction)— the MS-DOS operating system that runs 
the IBM PC family and hordes of compatibles and sort-of 
compatibles. The cutting edge is 32-bit, with three standards 
and probably more to come— Macintosh, AT&T UNIX PC, and 
Amiga. Every now and then I understand the difference 
between 8 and 16 and 32 bit, but it doesn't matter to 
understand it, so I forget again. 

Now then. Hardware shopping advice from an expert. Richard 
Dalton has been in the computer field for 18 years. He's a 
hardware buying consultant and editor of the office technology 
newsletter Open Systems. A founder of this Catalog project, 
his bemused voice appears throughout the book. 

RICHARD DALTON: We think there's more value in digging out 
the best in personal computing, not the newest. New products, 
especially hardware, are going to have problems. This was true 
of the vaunted IBM PC right after its announcement and 
frustrates our office today as we try to get the interesting and 
ambitious new AT&T UNIX PC to turn itself on properly. That 
doesn't invalidate the UNIX PC— they're just having predictable 
early production glitches. 

FIRST RULE: Don't buy serial number "1" of any system (or 
anything close to it). 

Second reason: a new computer system that is revolutionary 
(the ST from Atari is a good example) will not have enough 
software immediately available to satisfy the average buyer. It 
generally takes one or two years for the software producers to 
catch up with a new machine. 

SECOND RULE: Buy a computer that offers a number of 
choices in each software category (writing, organizing, 
drawing, etc.) that interests you. 

Since personal computers (and, of course, the programs that 
make the beasts work) are becoming more capable each year, a 
natural tendency is to hold back and await next year's 
developments. That's a valid approach /f you don't have 


anything currently important to do that a personal computer 
would substantially improve. If you do have, waiting won't help 

THIRD RULE: Think about what you can gain from a personal 
computer If it's a lot, crash ahead. If you're uncertain, either 
wait or buy cheap and do some exploring. 

FINAL RULE: So that you know the machine and know that the 
one you're buying works, don't buy any computer unless you 
have: Typed on the keyboard for at least 15 minutes ® 
Started a program, ended it and started another • Created a 
file and printed it ® Looked at the display and tested the 
system (not a demo) yourself for at least a half hour If a 
dealer won't let you do the above, sheath your MasterCard 
and move on. 

STEWART BRAND: Keyboards and monitors are of the 
essence. They're the parts of the computer that wear on your 
body day in and day out. Don't get a machine your fingers 
aren't happy with. One way to objectively test keyboards— in 
the store or with friends' machines— is with TYPING TUTOR III 
(p. 48), which tells you your words-per-minute rate as you 
mess with it. I likeXhe Apple lie keyboard better than the IBM, 
but TYPING TUTOR proved I'm a lot faster and make fewer 
errors on the IBM. 

Monitors. It's an almost theological choice between high- 
resolution monochrome, lower-resolution color, and expensive 
high-resolution color. If your computer life is strictly numbers 
and characters, monochrome will lessen the eyestrain. If you 
use graphics at all, color carries its own bonus of information. 
An RGB (red, green, blue) monitor— Taxans are our favorite- 
is so much better than a TV screen that it's worth paying the 
extra couple hundred bucks, even with the cheapest systems. 
Screens smaller than 9 inches diagonal are too hard to read, 
larger than 12 inches a waste of space and money. 

Given all these considerations, what are my top computer 
recommendations? Really only three— Apple, Compaq, and 
Macintosh. We recommend a good many more in the next few 
pages, but these I regard as the safest of the safe. The Apple is 
for any situation that involves kids; all the best learning and 
playing software runs on it, but it also has good application 
programs for adult use. Apple lie if you want a tidy system, 
ready-to-use-out-of-the-box; Apple lie if you want- 
expandability. Compaq is the reliable workhorse computer, the 
best of the IBM PC clones. If you're doing serious computing, 
don't mess around, get one with a hard disk, the Compaq Plus 
or a DeskPro. The Macintosh is a fine sports car, snazzy and 
fun so long as you don't expect it to do truck duty. I drive a 
Compaq Plus. 

That's the crude recommendation. Taking it a degree finer, a 
little more richness emerges . . . 

Disposable computer . . . 

$150; disk drive, $200; Commodore Business 
Machines, Inc., 1200 Wilson Dr., West Chester, 
PA 19380; 215/431-9100. 

JOHN SEWARD: The Commodore 64 is the 
Bic lighter of computers. It works great, but 
it's not destined to become a family 
heirloom. I've been writing software for the 
64 ever since it was introduced and am 
familiar with its strengths and weaknesses. 

Compared to the Apple lie, the 64 has the 
same memory, an augmented version of the 
same processor, better color graphics yet 
costs one-fourth as much. The Apple looks 
more substantial and has a well-deserved 
reputation for reliability, which Commodore 

STEVEN LEVY: Looking at ads I see the 
street price is somewhere around $320 
($140 for the computer, $160-180 for the 
disk drive.) Since you can get a color 
monitor for $200 or so (or use the TV) this 
is one cheap system. You could add a fast- 
load cartridge, word processor, draw 
program, Multiplan, a few games, the whole 
package for well under $800. 

Commodore 64 book (Commodore 64 Home 
Companion; George Beekman; 1984, 360 
pp., $19.95; Datamost, Inc., 19821 Nordhoff 
St., Chatsworth, CA 91324; 818/709-1202; 
or COMPUTER LITERACY) costs one-seventh 

the price of the computer, but it's worth it. It 
has everything— basic programming, 
telecommunications, software shopping, 
accessory hardware, books, magazines, 
users' groups, and bulletin board systems. 

In England the Commodore 64 is a serious 
business macliine, and good application software 
exists for it. It'll display on your TV (as liere), but 
you're better off getting a cheap color monitor— if 
you move "up" later, you can use the monitor 
with the next computer The Commodore 64 is a 
good machine to mess around with while you're 
deciding whether to mess with computers at ali, 
or while you're waiting for something ideal to 
come along. If you got more time and patience 
than money, it's bargain computing. If you have 
destructive Icids, you'll grieve less at the peanut 
butter in a Commodore keyboard. 

There Is one true statement about 
microcomputers: NO MATTER WHAT YOU 

— Woody Liswood 

The CP/M transportable bargain . 

$1595; Kaypro Corporation, P.O. Box N, Del Mar, 
CA 92014; 800/452-9776 or, in CA, 800/952-9776. 

RICHARD DALTON: Basically, Kaypro offers a 
pile of quality software (WORDSTAR, THE 
version 2.2) at a substantial discount and 
throws in their computer for free. You 
unpack, plug in the power cord and start 
writing, organizing, calculating, 
telecommunicating, or programming. 

STEWART BRAND: With its high resolution 
screen, two 392K disk drives, built-in 300 
baud modem, built-in clock/calendar, and 
transportability, the Kaypro 2X is a neat 
package. But its CP/M operating system 
imposes three major limitations: 1) almost 
no new software is being written tor CP/M; 

2) you're forever limited to 64K memory; 

3) there's no graphics worth mentioning, or 

The Kaypro 2X is complete, a bargain, and 
somewhat outdated. 


For home and school and tiny office . . 

Apple lie: S895 (street price $650); disk drive, 
$329; monitor, $229; Apple lie: $1195 (street 
price $750); monitor and stand, $238; Apple 
Computer, 20525 Mariani Ave., Cupertino, CA 
95014; 800/538-9696. 

PAUL FREIBERGER: The Apple He and He are 
the most recent descendants of the 
legendary Apple designed by Steve Wozniak 
and Steve Jobs in a Silicon Valley garage in 
1976. Since the latest machines still use 
practically the same processor as the 
previous two million, buyers can count on an 
enormous and diverse library of programs. 

Choosing between the two models requires 
careful thought. The basic lie ($895) is an 
open and expandable system, not unlike a 
starter kit. There is a plethora of products 
from independent firms that offer such 
features as: more memory, speech 
synthesis, graphics tablets, drawing with a 
light pen, and the capacity to build your own 
home security system. 

The lie requires a willingness to tinker with a 
computer, to pull off the lid and to insert 
add-on boards. Since many buyers only 
want to use their computer, Apple altered its 
"open-architecture" approach with the 
compact, closed-system He. Built into the 
very portable He are all the most commonly 
used features of any Apple II— one disk 
drive, 128K of memory, a keyboard that 

allows you to choose between standard 
QWERTY and Dvorak layout, 40- and 80- 
column text mode, and ports for a mouse or 
joystick, a modem, a flat-panel or RGB (red, 
green, blue) monitor, a monochrome 
monitor, a headphone, and a second disk 
drive. By packing these features into the 
system, Apple has saved you from making 
numerous additional buying decisions. The 
idea is to make the computer as easy to set 
up as a stereo. First-time computer owners 
will also appreciate the six interactive 
tutorials that come with the He. Besides 
offering hands-on training to learn computer 
basics, the tutorials introduce APPLEWORKS 
(p. 108), an integrated word processing, 
spreadsheet and filing program. 

The He includes "double-high resolution" 
graphics (560 by 192 pixels), available only 
as an option on the He, and Apple also built 
"Mousetext" into the computer's ROM to 
encourage programmers to develop software 
that works with a mouse and appears similar 

Apple lie (left) and lie 
(right), open 
architecture versus 
closed, same machine 
otherwise, offering the 
largest library of 
software in the 
business. The lie is 
more adaptable, but 
many of the things you 
might add are already 
included in the lie. 

to programs designed for the Macintosh. 
Thus the Apple II software library should 
continue to improve. 

STEWART BRAND: Because all the great 
learning and playing software runs on the 
Apple, this is the premium choice for a 
house with kids (or school, where it's the 
standard machine). At the same time there is 
excellent grown-up application software — 
MULTIPLAN (p. 70), etc. 

STEVEN LEVY: With The Endless Apple 

(Charles Rubin; 1985; 258 pp.; S15.95; 
Microsoft Press, 10700 Northup Way, 
Bellevue, WA 98009; 206/828-8080; or 
COMPUTER LITERACY) you have a how-to 
book with a controversial thesis. For most 
applications, Rubin insists, you can find 
good-as-MS-DOS software or you can make 
hardware modifications so your Apple II or 
He performs as dazzlingly as the IBM PC or 
newer machines. 

Still the most popular laptop . . . 

$499 (24K); $399 (8K); 8K RAM expansion 
modules, $120 per kit; capacity to 32K; Tandy 
Corporation/Radio Shack Division, 1700 One 
Tandy Center, Ft. Wortli, TX 76102; 817/390- 

The Radio Shack Model 100 at $499 is a bargain, 
and its easy portability is a whole different way to 
think about computers. 

Incompatible operating systems have tal<en 
over wtiere reiigious differences left off. 

— Catfiy Guisewite 

STEWART BRAND: The original laptop 
computer, which changed the industry when 
it came out two and half years ago, is still 
the one we recommend most confidently (for 
other laptops, see the Last Minute 
Supplement, p. 209). The Model 100 
became popular because it was cheap, good, 
and more useful than anyone expected. Its 
popularity then built a whole world of 
support around it, and so its value continues 
to grow. 

In one handful you get: a keyboard (faster 
for some typists than regular desktop 
computers), a liquid crystal screen of 8 lines 
by 40 columns, a neat word processor, a 
shockingly easy telecommunicator (the first 
to have one built in), an address file, a 
scheduler, and BASIC, all in 24K run by 
batteries, all for under $500. For several 
professional computerists we know, it is 
their entire system. All manner of programs 
and add-ons have emerged to enhance the 
little guy— check the Model 100 index. 
One of the advantages is the utter ubiquity 
of Radio Shack stores for sales and 
service, though if you want even better 
prices (by 20% usually) try Nocona 
Electronics, RO. Box 593, Nocona, TX 
76255; 817/825-4027. 

JIM STOCKFORD: Portable 100/200 ($3.95 
single issues; $29.97/ year [12 issues]; 
Camden Communications, PO. Box 250, 
Highland Mill, Camden, ME 04843; 
207/236-4365) is the magazine for keeping 
up with latest products for the Radio Shack 

The TRS-80 User's Encyclopedia (Model 
100) (Gary Phillips, Jacquelyn Smith, Julia 
Menapace; 1984; 239 pp.; $14.95; Arrays, 
Inc./ The Book Division, 11223 South Hindry 
Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90045; 
213/410-9466; or COMPUTER LITERACY) 
supplements the very clear Model 100 
manual with a lot of extra information, 
including a memory map and good 
explanations of specific Model 100 functions 
and general computer terms. This is the 
book I turn to when I'm stuck; I've thrown 
the rest away. 

RAM + ($425; Portable Computer Support 
Group, 11035 Harry Hines Blvd., #207, 
Dallas, TX 75229; 214/351-0564) is a 
hardware/software combo that adds an extra 
64K of RAM to your Model 100, It has 
enough memory to free me completely from 
my cassette recorder and desk top 




Setting ttie MS-DOS standard 

$2295 (street price $1700); includes 2 disk drives 
and 256K; IBI\A Entry Systems Division, P.O. Box 
1328, Boca Raton, FL 33432; 800/447-4700. 

STEWART BRAND: Thanks to its marketing 
clout IBIVI lias done the personal computer 

market, somewhat inadvertently, an 
enormous favor; there is one standard 
operating system for the whole 16-bit middle 
of the biz— good old MS-DOS. As a result, 
some 75% of all software being written 
these days is targeted at IBM and "IBM- 
compatible" machines. Most of it is 
"business" software, and it has become 
very capable indeed. 

In general the crowd of IBM PC "clones" 
(imitators) offer better performance at often 
far better price, sometimes at the cost of 
decreased compatibility with the full range of 
software developed to the IBM standard. The 
trick is knowing which clones are most 
compatible and which clone manufacturers 
will survive to support their machines next 
year. These three are our pick for 1985-86. 

Clone 1: ctieapest . . . 

imm 1000 o 

$999.95. Tandy Corporation/Radio Shack 
Division, One Tandy Center, Ft. Worth, TX 76113; 

RICHARD DALTON: The newish Tandy 1000, 
at under $1 ,000 with 128K memory, one 
360K disk drive (second addable), no 
monitor, and reasonably good IBM PC 
compatibility, is a good buy, especially 
backed by the resurgent Radio Shack chain 
of 6000-plus stores. The machine comes 
equipped with a set of programs called 
DESKMATE that is surprisingly useful for 
giveaway software. 

STEWART BRAND: Unlike the IBM PC, the 
Tandy 1000 comes with graphics adapter, 
MS-DOS, and parallel printer interface 
included. Apparently to appeal to the home 
market, it also has connectors for two 
joysticks and a light pen, along with 
enhanced sound and music capabilities. It 
takes up far less space than the IBM whale, 
but that has a price— the three slots for add- 
on boards are three inches shorter than the 
standard 13-inch long board IBM slots, 
a shopping nuisance. At its price the Tandy 
1000 is competing directly with the Apple He 
and lie as well as the Kaypro 2X. For my 
uses (mostly business, some fun), I confess 
the Tandy 1000 looks like the better buy. 

Tandy makes it a bit hard to attach things not 
marketed by them to their computers. One 
way around that is to get Tandy stuff alright, 
only from the discounter (20% and more) 
Nocona Electronics, P.O. Box 593, Nocona, 
TX 76255; 817/825-4027. 

Clone 2: faster, more graphic . . . 

AT&T §300 O 

$2810 (2 disk drives); $4485 (hard disk); AT&T 
information Systems, 1 Speedwell Ave., 
Morristown, NJ 07960; 201/898-2000. 

STEWART BRAND: The advantages of the 
AT&T 6300 are: 1) with the 8086 chip at its 
heart instead of IBM's 8088, its processing 
speed is twice as fast; 2) graphics adaptation 
is included, in quite tasty high resolution 
(640 X 400 pixels, twice as good as straight 
IBM); 3) a large and serious company 
evidently committed to ongoing support of 
the machine. The disadvantages: 1) possible 
incompatibility with some programs due to 
that improved speed and graphics ("But 
FLIGHT SIMULATOR not only works, you get 
to O'Hare Airport twice as fast," comments 
Ken Milburn); 2) the price break is only 
medium good. The package does include 
MS-DOS and parallel and serial ports, so 
you can hook a printer and modem right up, 
along with a good seven empty slots for 
additional boards. 

With the AT&T 6300 you get giant support from a 
different giant than IBM. 

\ — -r—Tm 

tmmiiimiiHi _^ 

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The Tandy 1000 is a tidy pacloge with a lot of 
range for a modest price. 

The Compaq and Compaq Plus (hard disli) are an 
armload of computer. The Compaq Deskpro is the 
compleat one-machine office. 

Clone 3: best . . . 

Compaq: $2495 (street price $2000); Compaq 
Plus: $3999 (street price $3200); Compaq 
Deskpro Model 4: $5799 (street price $5000); 
Compaq Computer Corp., 20555 FM 149, 
Houston, TX 77070; 800/231-0900 or, in TX, 

STEWART BRAND: Compaq is always half a 
step behind IBM in time, half a step ahead in 
quality. The company has the most 
successful line of computers in the 
business— zero fumbles so far; no other 
major company can claim that. The 
reputation comes from good reliability of 
product and service and marketing, and 
outstanding IBM-compatibility, greater even 
than IBM's at times (IBM tends to lose 
compatibility between its own generations 
for a time; Compaq, half a step behind, 

The two machines that made Compaq's 
reputation are "transportable"— they have a 
handle and they close up into a plausible 26- 
pound suitcase; not something you'd want to 
run for a plane with, but easily luggable out 
to the car from home or office. Interestingly, 
this makes them more useful in a busy 
office; people easily cart a Compaq from 
desk to desk, whereas big desktop 
computers are turf~-no trespassing. Both 
the Compaq and Compaq Pius include MS- 
DOS and graphics and parallel port and a 
built-in 9-inch monochrome monitor; the 
Plus adds a built-in 10 megabyte hard disk 
that travels surprisingly well. 

The proven prize of the Compaq line is the 
Deskpro Model 4, a desktop computer with a 
wealth of speed, memory, and storage. 
Speed comes from the 8086 chip, but that 
doesn't reduce compatibility— if you happen 
to be running a program that requires the 
slower clock speed of the IBM PC, there's a 
toggle to halve the speed so it feels at home. 
Memory on the Model 4 is 640K, the 
maximum usable for most applications. And 
storage is unique— Deskpro was the first 
desktop to have built-in tape cartridge 
backup for its 10-megabyte hard disk. This is 
a prodigious convenience and safety feature. 
Since it only takes 20 minutes to back up the 
entire hard disk in one automatic sequence, 
you're more likely to do it, and you avert the 
catastrophe of losing your whole datafile to a 
hard disk crash one black day. 


"If you're spending 
your own money on a 
computer, shop around 
for ttie best value. If 
you're spending your 
company's money, buy 
IBM. " 

—George Morrow 

What follows is not 
the corporate 
approach, it's the 
intensely personal 
approach. The IBM PC 
is by now a humble 
beast, but with the 
right accoutrements it 
can be truly 
formidable. (With the 
wrong accoutrements, 
it is merely 

More power, less cost... 

announcing new personal computers and it's never going to 
end, folks. It's a lot like the horsepower race Detroit pushed 
during the fifties— constant increases in "power" without 
regard for utility or cost. Still, there's a lot to gain from 
enhancing a standard PC. It all costs money, though, so it's 
best to spend -some time thinking about what will benefit you 
most. Otherwise it's just junk food for your MasterCard. 

First, a look at the ways to enhance your PC hardware. These 

1 . Expanding the PC's memory and/or the ports that allow you 
to hook up devices like modems, plotters, and printers; 

2. Adding a "hard" disk for more storage and faster access to 

3. Exchanging the PC's clunky keyboard; 

4. Improving the quality of the monitor (and support 
electronics) you have to stare at all day; 

5. Cranking up the internal speed with a processor 
replacement; and 

6. Swapping the PC's weak-kneed power supply to handle this 
added stuff. 

Eipaniling memory and ports 

It used to be that 256K was a lot of memory, but programs 
keep getting bigger and users more ambitious. A number of PC 
owners have boosted their computer memory to the 640K 
maximum that the PC DOS operating system allows. 

Part of this upgrading is due to the rapidly declining price of 
boards and memory chips. Building to 256K you can do with 
chips; beyond 256K you have to buy a memory expansion 

board. Most brands are much the same, so you should look 
for a lengthy warranty (at least a year), a vendor you trust, and 
good documentation— one of the real differentiating features 
with memory boards. 

A relatively better value comes from memory boards with 
added capabilities; so-called "multi-function" boards. These 
add a chronograph (clock) to show the current time and date, 
and one or more "ports." At this point, you have to think 
about what you're liable to add to the PC before committing to 
a purchase. Many display boards— the ones that feed 
information to your screen— include a parallel port, normally 
used to attach a printer. The serial port usually connects to a 
modem for telecommunications. A game port is a way to hang 
a joystick on a PC. If you don't play games or plan to 
communicate or if you already have a printer connection, the 
seemingly better value of a multi-function board may not offer 
anything more than a lower priced, memory-only board. 

How much memory is enough? Memory chips have gotten so 
cheap, this is a less critical question. A basic memory board 
will cost $175-300; a multi-function board about $100 more. 
Each 64K you add to the memory board can cost as little as 
$10-15 if you insert the chips yourself. If you buy the board 
with the chips already in it, you'll pay an extra $20-40 per 64K. 
This equals a range of about $250-550 to get your PC up to 
640K, depending on whether you want other ports and if 
you're willing to become a computer do-it-yourselfer. 

Adding a hard disk 

Nothing will make your system speed up as much as a hard 
disk that can store at least 10 megabytes. Period. Hard disks 
run much faster than floppies as you switch from program to 
program, access files, or sort a data base, and you also 
escape the time-consuming process of locating and shuffling 
floppy disks. 

We've seen 10MB disks advertised for as little as $500 from 
mail order houses, and while you can get stung, most hard 
disks on the market are made by a small number of vendors 
with fairly similar characteristics. That's not to say that there 
aren't differences in speed and reliability, just that the average 
PC owner won't notice them. 

Imprwing tte PC's kef board 

The slowest component in your system is you. PCs spend 
most of their time waiting for you to hit the next key. Anything 
that speeds up the process will dramatically increase the work 
you and your PC can accomplish. 

The standard IBM keyboard has an overly firm, metallic feel to 
it and many of the keys seem oddly placed to the average user. 
There are many alternative keyboards available in the $100-200 
price range, but the $400 WICO SmartBoard is a true standout. 
Before you choke on that price, consider what it can do. It's 
about the same size as IBM's original and has a better "feel," 
especially for touch typists. The most prominent addition, 
though, is a trackball on the right-hand side, which works just 
like the cursor control "arrow" keys only much faster and 
more smoothly. Editing text or changing numbers on a 
spreadsheet is a breeze as the cursor flies around the screen, 
moved by the direction of your fingertips on the trackball. 


SmartBoard has its own memory that can be used to store 
keyboard "macros" (strings of text or commands up to 126 
characters long that are attached to the 10 function keys) and 
you can re-assign the positions of any two keys. Add to that a 
BASIC programmer's or Dvorak keyboard configuration that are 
invoked by single keystrokes, and you've got a productive new 
companion for your digits that's worth the seemingly high 

Monitors and display boards 

What your eyes work with is a display board (generating text 
and graphics) and a monitor screen. What you get may include 
headaches and chronic eyestrain if you make the wrong choice. 
There are dozens of display boards on the market and an even 
larger herd of monitors. If your primary aim is graphics, check 
out the suggestions on pages 123-124. For the rest of us, who 
need a comfortable way to view numbers and text, these are 
the recommendations: 

® If money is the prime concern, get a Hercules Graphics Card 
and a monochrome monitor— a "TTL" type rather than a 
composite, if you can afford the $50-100 price difference. 
Monochrome will provide you with grey-scale graphics and 
sharp looking text. Most monitor makers offer amber or 
green screens, further easing the eyestrain problem. The 
color choice is up to your own preference. There's no real 
evidence that one is "better" than the other. 

® If you want the advantages of full color, the choice gets 
tougher. Standard color graphics on the PC are punishing for 
anyone who has to do a lot of work with characters. A 
superior and admittedly expensive answer is a Taxan 440 
monitor coupled to the BoB board made by Emulex/Persyst. 
BoB stands for "best of both," providing text slightly 
sharper than even monochrome (and in any of 16 color 
combinations) and full compatibility with standard color 
graphics. The list price for this combination is a non-trivial 
$1395, but some of the sting can be removed buying 
through discounters who will sell you both for as little as 
$900— still a large chunk of cash. 

Cranking up tlie PC's internal processing power 

This appears as the last option because for most people, it's 
the least cost-effective way to improve a PC. PCs and their XT 
cousins use an Intel 8088 processor to shovel data around 
inside. PC users who are plugged in a couple of hours a day 
will notice programs are moving along faster, but they won't 
save more than a few seconds daily by replacing the 8088 
processor with a faster model. However, those who spend 
most of their time grinding out information may find the 
$700-2500 added costs worthwhile. 

That's the fallacy built into the IBM PC AT and all the other 
"faster" computers coming on the market: the internal 
processing rate of a computer is the smallest factor in what 
actually gets done. A secondary disadvantage is found in 
software. The AT's 80286 is from the same processor "family" 
as the 8088, but there are enough differences to make it 
compatible with only about 75% of the software written for the 
standard PC. 

Of the many "speed-up" boards on the market, the Orchid 
PCturbo is the best choice. It adds an Intel 80186 processor 
that will improve processing speeds 2-3 times vs. the 8088, 

yet remains compatible with almost all software since you can 
switch back to the humble old 8088 whenever it's needed. 
Most speed-up boards require instead that you remove and 
replace your 8088. Basic cost is $895, and you'll get up to 
around $1200 if you add a full load of memory chips. You can 
cut about $200 off those figures by shopping around. 

IBM underestimated the need for electric power when they built 
the PC. Its 63.5 watt power supply isn't sufficient if you start 
adding a bunch of goodies. Fortunately, replacement power 
supplies in the 130-135 watt range cost only $100 to $175 
($100 more if you walk into your local computer retail store 
and ask them to boost the power). You should look for a power 
supply that is an exact replacement for the original— that 
means the same size with screw holes in the same places. 
Beyond that, it's an easy session with a screwdriver to double 
the PC's power source. 

It's a recommended step if you decide to add a hard disk or 
use up all your available slots with add-on boards. Cheap 
insurance against fading power that can cause either 
intermittent or wholesale loss of data. 

Most of these recommendations apply to IBM PC "clones" as 
well. Space doesn't permit us to say which ones work with 
each type of computer. Check with your dealer if you want to 
try any of these enhancements on your IBM-compatible. 

Overall, we're impressed by the enhancement strategy vs. the 
"buy the newest and fastest" approach. You're familiar with 
the PC, so why go through the steep learning curve a new 
machine generally requires? The issue of software 
compatibility is another nagging consideration. You already 
own a substantial piece of computing gear which you can make 
more productive as the need arises, usually at much lower cost 
than with a new system. 

WICO Smartboard: WICO Corporation, 6400 West Gross Point Rd., Niles, IL 
60648; 312/647-7500 • Hercules Graphics Card: S499; Hercules Computer 
Technology, 2550 Ninth St., Suite 210, Berkeley, GA 94710; 415/540-6000 e 
Taxan 440 monitor: $800; Taxan Corp., 18005 Cortney Ct., City of Industry, CA 
91748; 818/810-2490 • BoB board: S595; Emulex/Persyst, 3545 Harbor Blvd., 
P.O. Box 6725, Costa Mesa, CA 92626; 800/368-5393 • PCturbo board: $895; 
Orchid Technology, Inc., 47790 Westinghouse Dr., Fremont, CA 94539; 

For fiddling witli your hardware, get 
tiie cheerfully excellentlhe Plain 
English Repair and Maintenance 
Guide for Home Computers (Henry F. 
Beechhold; 1984; 265 pp.; $14.45; 
Simon & Schuster, Attn: Mail Order, 
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New 
York, NY 10020; 800/223-2348; or 
problem in your mysterious computer 
and fixing it is a comlng-of-age, a 
departure from helplessness. 




still dazzling . 

$2795 (street price S2395), 512K; external disk 
drive, S495 (street price $325); Apple Computer, 
20525 Mariani Ave., Cupertino, CA 95014; 
800/538- 9696. 

STEWART BRAND: As sports cars and racing 
cars have frequently led the way in auto 
design, Apple's Macintosh has been the 
trend setter for two years on how a 
computer and its software should interact 
with the user. Thanks to its ingenuity and 
market success, most Mac innovations— a 
"mouse" for driving the cursor around on 
the screen, "windows" for displaying 
various applications at once, "icons" for 
indicating a tool or function with a picture 
instead of words-- all are now standard tools 
of the trade. 

The Macintosh is a picture box; that's why 
it's so easy to understand and so dramatic to 
work with. Everything is handled graphically 
on the "bit-mapped" high-resolution black- 
on-white screen. The Mac's problem is that 
it's underpowered and undersized for its 
task, because driving a bit-mapped screen 
takes quantities of memory and storage. 
Therefore we recommend at minimum the 
512K ("Fat") Mac, and a second disk drive. 
Better still, get a 10-megabyte hard disk 
HyperDrive built in ($2195 [for 51 2K Mac]; 
General Computer Co., 215 First St., 
Cambridge, MA 02142; 800/422-0101 or, in 
MA, 617/492-5500). Also get utilities such 
as SWITCHER (p. 115) that help speed 
access between programs. 

Hang out iot a while with a Mac before 
buying. Get past the dazzle and see if the 
limited keyboard (no function keys, no 
cursor keys) delights or frustrates you, 
watch the screen and see if its size suits you 
and whether the bright screen has a tiring 
flicker. Steven Levy: "The Mac screen you 
complain about is one of the joys of my 
working life. Having talked to lots of people 
about it, I conclude that the sensitivity to 
Mac flicker is an individual trait aggravated 
by lighting conditions." 

If those matters seem manageable, and 
you're not primarily after heavy duty word 
and number crunching, the Macintosh is a 
sweet package with elegant design at every 
step, from the crystal-clear manuals to the 
clever cable attachments. 

The next generation for business . . . 


$6095 (ufith 20-megabyte liard disk); $5495 (with 
10-megabyte hard disk); AT&T Information 
Systems, 1 Speedwfell Ave., l\florristown, NJ 
07960; 201/898-2000. 

STEWART BRAND: The UNIX PC this year is 
in the position the Macintosh was last year— 
a complete computing package with a whole 
new impressive operating system, new kinds 
of uses promised, and not much software 
available yet but supposedly a lot coming. 
Our favorable judgment is more a guess and 
hope, as with the Mac last year, because the 
UNIX PC world of experience is still only half 
arrived, and it'll take a year to arrive fully. 

Where the Mac is a picture box, the UNIX PC 
is a communication box. 

The UNIX PC uses pictures— three-button 
mouse, bit mapped high resolution 
monochrome screen (720 x 348 pixels)— but 
that's primarily to ease the managing of the 

/.'.;"' • • ' "T 4- i i ': .* 

■ A s ■' » ^ '^ ' C * ■■ ^ 

\ -i i- « V «■ « ^ 


UNIX operating system, which is known to 
be a tangle of arcana when you try to 
manage it directly by commands. Included 
with the system is an internal 300/1200 baud 
modem, serial and parallel ports, clock/ 
calendar, its own electronic mail software, 
and three phone jacks, encouraging 
simultaneous voice and data transmission. 
Elaborate, nicely designed software 
automates, connects, and records 
telecommunicating and regular phone 
calling. You can have work interrupted by a 
phone call, handle the call in a window 
(taking notes, logging time, etc.), then 
return to the interrupted work; next time you 
call that person, notes from the previous 
conversation will automatically be displayed. 
This machine is a phone junky's wet dream. 

UNIX specializes in connecting— in handling 
"multi-user, multi-tasking." That means 
your machine can be doing a number of 
functions at once, and if you hook up with 
colleagues, UNIX will manage all that 
adroitly. UNIX also specializes in not 
specializing; once software is written for 
UNIX, it's easy to port around to other 
manufacturer's machines; this should help it 
become a standard rapidly, and it's greatly 
encouraging to softv/are developers The 
cost of all this IS that UNIX is bulky— it 
v/ants large quantities of memory and 
storage. The 512K memory and lO-mcgabyie 
hard disk of the 'basic" UNIX PC .s too 

AT&T's UNIX PC brings minicomputer software 
and power to ttie desktop. 

TIte most lovable computer on the market, the 
Macintosh also requires a certain amount of 



Hard disks and printers and tlie pain of periplierais . . . 

STEWART BRAND: It's only a matter of time before you get a hard disk 
if you're computing at all regularly. Your files accumulate, the 
programs you're using accumulate, your floppy storage gets confused, 
the price of discount hard disks comes down another increment, your 
brother-in-law who got a hard disk won't shut up about its wonders. 
Soon the question is not whether, but which one. 

RICHARD DALTON: Overall there are mostly good units on the market; 
some slightly slower or faster but no big deal. Go for price (some are 
as low as $500), warranty, and most of all someone who'll stand 
behind the product if it crumps out. Once it's installed, commit only 
non-critical stuff (or back-up religiously) for the first couple months. If 
it's going to fail in a major way, it probably will in that time frame. 
Also, buy a two-disk-drive system (half-heights) and either put the hard 
disk in the other slot or get an external unit. That way, if your hard disk 
fails, you get to continue operating in a graceful way until repairs are 


Hard disk buyers soon discover that 10 megabytes of storage (or 20 or 
30) fills up at an alarming rate. For Macintosh and MS-DOS machines, 
enter the Bernoulli Box from Iomega ($3695 [street price $3140], two 
disk drives; $2695 [street price $2290], one disk drive; Iomega Corp., 
1821 West 4000 South, Roy, UT 84067; 801/778-1000.) It houses two 
10-megabyte cartridges that can be removed and replaced to store 
endless quantities of programs and files. Even better, you solve the 
ever-present back-up problem simply, by writing the contents of one 
cartridge to the other in less than five minutes. The unlimited capacity 
of floppies with the speed and size of hard disks. And dead reliable. It's 
expensive and bulky, otherwise it's the best way to store information 
I've seen. The cartridges can cost as little as $50 by mail order, and 
that's cheap if you consider each one stores almost 30 floppies. If I 
had to choose between my Golden Retriever and my Bernoulli Box, it 
would be a toss-up. 

STEWART BRAND: A great book on this topic is More Than You Ever 
Wanted to Know About Hard Disks for Your IBM PC (Robert E. Brown; 
1985; 84 pp.; $27 (CA residents add 6.5% sales tax); Landmark 
Software, 1142 Pomegranate Court, Sunnyvale, CA 94087; 
408/733-4032; or COMPUTER LITERACY). A great hard disk utility 
program for MS-DOS machines is 1DIR (p. 172). 

Selecting and then living with printers are two of the great agonies of 
personal computing. There are too many printers, all different, all 
finicky. There are almost no professional evaluators of printers, but we 
found one in Charles Stevenson, head programmer and chief of printer 
configuration at MicroPro, makers of WORDSTAR. 

CHARLES STEVENSON: Among dot matrix printers the recently 
announced IBM Proprinter is now the one to beat, with its near letter- 
quality print, front feed for letterhead and envelopes, downloadable 
fonts, and $549 list price. It's relatively fast and it's made in the U.S. 
(IBM, Information Systems Group, 900 King St., Rye Brook, NY 
10573; 800/447-4700). The street price for many small dot matrix 
printers is in the $300 range now. They're almost disposable— cheaper 
to replace than fix. Always test the exact model of the printer with the 
software you're going to use it with before buying. 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: The $495 ThinkJet from Hewlett-Packard is a 
delightful printer— fast, quiet, and portable (8" x 11 Va" x 31/2", 6 
pounds). Instead of mechanical printheads and ribbons, it uses a small 
disposable ink-filled cartridge ($10) that slides into a tray at the front of 
the machine. It paints characters on the paper by spraying ink through 
several tiny holes in the printhead. It's fast: 150 cps (characters per 
second), 12 pitch. Bold and underlining don't slow it down. Print 
quality is excellent. Not perfect letter quality, but the lines are much 
finer than dot matrix— and they're always the same. You'll never see 
faint characters from tired ribbons. I think it's worth every penny for 
the peace and quiet alone. Clean thumbs and portability are bonuses. 
(ThinkJet; $495; Hewlett-Packard, 1020 N.E. Circle Blvd., Corvallis, OR 
97330; 800/367-4772.) 

RICHARD DALTON: The new Brother 2024L dot matrix has a 24-wire 
print head that can produce draft text at 160 cps and very near letter- 
quality at a flying 80 cps. The letter quality is good enough even for my 

fussy publisher, and I get options for 10 or 12 pitch and a really elegant 
proportional font. The ribbon re-inks itself continuously, giving it a life 
many times as long as most printer ribbons. ($1295; Brother 
International Corp., 8 Corporate Place, Piscataway, NJ 08854; 

CHARLES STEVENSON: In the lower speed, letter- quality printer range 
it's a toss-up. I'd go with the Brother HR-15 or the Silver Reed 
EXP-500. Speeds are 12 to 23 characters per second. Both can handle 
Diablo escape sequences, which means that if "Diablo" is a printer 
choice in your word processor, you simply select it; no further 
configuration is necessary. (Brother HR-15; $599 [street price $360]; 
Brother International Corp., 8 Corporate Place, Piscataway, NJ 08854; 
201/981-0300 ® Silver-Reed EXP-500; $599; Silver-Reed America, Inc., 
19600 S. Vermont Ave., Torrance, CA 90502; 800/874-4885 or, in CA, 

STEWART BRAND: I think the notion of "letter-quality" printers is 
about as deep as "wood-quality" station wagons. Most letter-quality 
printers are expensive, thudding monsters, and they can't even do 
graphics, where all the action is with computers. Charles Stevenson 
advises not paying more than $500 for any letter quality printer, 
because laser printers are on the way to replacing them. Between the 
Hewlett-Packard LaserJet and the Apple LaserWriter he greatly prefers 
the Apple. 

PAUL FREIBERGER: Compare the LaserWriter's resolution of 300 dots 
per inch to the 80 dots per inch of Apple's standard Macintosh printer, 
the ImageWriter. At first glance LaserWriter documents appear to be 
typeset, though the resolution of professional typesetting machines is 
around 2000 dots per inch. The advantage of a laser printer over a 
typesetter is that you can use it in your office. In addition, it will print 
graphs and charts beautifully. 

The LaserWriter contains 1 .5 megabytes of RAM, 20 times as much as 
Hewlett-Packard's LaserJet and enough to print a full page of graphics 
in its high resolution. The enormous memory also accounts for its 
speed— up to eight pages of text a minute. Built into the LaserWriter 
are 13 different font styles, including common ones such as Times 
Roman and Helvetica. With AppleTalk ($650), Apple's answer to office 
networking, it is possible to connect 30 computers to one LaserWriter. 
That puts the $6995 price tag (plus $99 to replace the toner cartridge 
after 2000-3000 pages) in a different light. (LaserWriter: $6995 [street 
price $6300] ® ImageWriter: $595 [street price $500]; Apple Computer, 
20525 Mariani Ave., Cupertino, CA 95014; 800/538-9696). 

STEWART BRAND: Watch out for the cables that link printers and other 
pieces of your hardware; they vary invisibly and critically. Don't leave 
the store with equipment that isn't operationally cabled to each other. If 
your office deals with much variety, invest in a Smart Cable, which 
adapts to whatever it's connecting. It costs the equivalent of three 
stupid cables. (Smart Cable 817 RM [male] or 817 RF [female]; $90; 
Smart Cable 821 [includes both male and female connectors on both 
ends]; $175; 10 Technologies, 11811 N.E. First St., Suite 308, 
Bellevue, WA 98005; 800/232-8324 or, in WA, 206/451-0232). 


boldface: Double Eitrike 


Sfeffikeeafe, Overpri 


and any combination 

Dot-addressable graphics 
96 X 96 dots/inch 
96 vertical x 192 ho 

Four print pitches 

Coopressed (HZ characters/line 
Normal (80 c 
Expanded cc 
E >; p s» in d 

MacWrite and Image Uriter 
have mmz plattng captbililiM 
~ e fonts to t&l&mi 
—Plain, bold, //^//c- underline. 

outlisi@. i&id®w or 

mJM mi.m^<^^- 3 type 

Print quality from four 
printers. 1) iBM 
Proprinter, dot matrix; 
2) Brottter HR25, 
letter quality, slow; 3} 
ThinkJet, better than 
most dot matrix, but 
requires special 
coated paper for best 
results; 4) Apple 
ImageWriter, rich 
graphics, fine dot 



STEWART BRAND: It comes down to how you value your time. 
If you take the time to search out primo suppliers, you'll save 
certainly hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars. If life crowds 
you already and you have the dough, buy what you want over the 
closest counter and get all the service you can with it. 

The strategies of buying in the next few pages (retail stores, 
discount mail order, public domain) go from expensive easiest to 
cheap hardest, and from least educational to most educational. 
Once you know the computer(s) you're interested in, the most 
effective single move you can make is to go to a User's Group for 
that machine in your area (computer stores can guide you to 
them), and listen and inquire. Along with the good information, 
you get relief— the group knows more than you could find out in 
weeks. And they'll be there when you get the machine home and 
find that your problems haven't gone away yet. 

By and large you'll buy hardware at hardware places (thousands 
of dollars), software (and magazines) at software places 
(hundreds of dollars), and books at regular book stores— or mail 
order from COMPUTER LITERACY (p. 201). It's a fragmented, 
volatile market; that's part of the fun of shopping in it. 

If you're using the computer for business, even if you don't 
succeed financially, it's a significant tax write-off. In 1985 the tax 
break became more restrictive and complicated. Consult your 
tax adviser. While you're at it, check out software like TAX 
PREPARER (p. 104), PERSONAL TAX PLANNNER (p. 104), and 

Thieves love computers. Insurance costs on the order of $50-75 
for $5,000 of stuff, with $100 deductible— worth it. Organizing 
Domain Editor Tony Fanning, who had two computers stolen, 
has this advice. "You add an attachment to your homeowner's 
policy; if you do work at home, it's cheaper to get it as a 
business attachment. The AAA also apparently insures 
computers. Get insurance for 'replacement value.' Take 
photographs of the equipment and make copies of the receipts 
and give all that to the company. Be sure to inform them when 
you add to the system— send the receipts, etc. When you're 
robbed or burned or whatever, press hard on the company, but 
don't pad your loss estimates (surprise them). You have to get 
written replacement value estimates from stores, and the 
company will check them. They'll take out the deductible and 
10% per year for depreciation, and you're back in business. 
Three times and they cancel. I'm getting one of those lock-down 

Fits! you shois for the store . . , 

STEVEN LEVY: The first and often the best place to look for 
software is in a retail store, either one specializing in software or 
your plain old neighborhood computer store. With a nearby 
store, not only can you switch faulty disks within minutes after 
you get home and find them not working, but you can use your 
phone to pester the clerk who so kindly served you . No long 
distance charges. 

Too many stores, though, give inadequate service. The definitive 
example for me is the salesclerk who refused to leave his 
MISSILE COMMAND game when my mate and I tried to get his 
attention so we could spend $10,000 at his store buying two 
computers. With that kind of attention to big-ticket buyers, is it 
any wonder that people who merely want software are doomed 
to nonperson status at many computer stores? 

Yet you should persist in finding a store that will listen to your 
needs, open packages of software for you, run the software on 
its machines, let you play with the software. Such a place more 
likely specializes in software than hardware, but if the place you 
bought your computer does not give you that kind of service, 
you probably bought your computer at the wrong place. 

Is the c/erA- a /erfr? Establishing a relationship with someone in 
the store can be a satisfying, fruitful experience. Some stores, of 
course, are not geared to this type of contact. Big-volume 
outlets, like New York City's well-known 47th Street Photo, trade 
off service for discounts that compete with the cheapest mail- 
order outlets. Yet even salespeople at 47th Street Photo, once 
you finish waiting in line to talk to them, will offer quick, 
knowledgeable advice. Stores like these are easily found by the 


large ads they buy in the local paper, with prices in the range of 
those offered in mail-order ads. 

By perusing newspaper ads you might also find one for a store 
near you that seems to emphasize not only price, but desirable 
choices of machines or software applications. Another giveaway 
of a service-oriented store is mention of classes in using 
computers and popular programs. Often, fellow users will point 
you to a store where fair price meets conscientious customer 
support; some clever store owners have managed to be the 
default choice for software purchase by entire users' groups, 
just by paying attention to what people need and being around to 
answer questions and deal with problems. This is the kind of 
store where you might find your computer Godfather, and I 
suggest you persist until you find one or rule out all the 
possibilities in your area. 

The guy you most want to cultivate is the store owner— he is the 
one most likely to be around when you drop in next week. The 
turnover at those places is incredible. If not the owner, settle for 
a manager. Don't give up on clerks, but it seems that once clerks 
reach an acceptable level of competence, they find a better job at 
a higher (better paying) rung in the computer field. Your best 
alternative might be a high school kid working in the store- 
freshmen especially, since they're not going anywhere for a 
while. Most often these kids got the job by hanging around the 
place and making it clear they knew more than anyone working 
there. They seem to have an endless curiosity about any 
problems you might encounter, and will devote marathon 
lengths of time to see something through to its solution. This is 
especially helpful in those seemingly trivial, ultimately baffling 
tasks like choosing the proper cable to connect your computer 
and your printer— a task which has the potential for disaster if 
you aren't in contact with a person who's done it before. 

Make sure your store contact listens to you. Make sure you see 
software run—on your particular configuration— before you take 
it home. (If you have a very weird configuration, you might see 
the software run on something else and leave with a promise to 
immediately exchange it if it doesn't work— or perhaps make a 
phone appointment for your Godfather to talk you through the 
steps necessary to get the software running.) Make sure that the 
store can come up with several alternative packages to choose 
from and can explain the relative advantages of each. A good 
test would be an application that you already know: Can they 
explain why the three-hundred dollar word processor is worth 
three times the hundred-dollar program— for the needs you have 
described? If the program you're shopping for is a complicated 
one, find out how much help they're willing to give. Again, the 
store might give classes. If not, make damn sure the guy who 
sells you the program at least knows how to work it. At the very 
least, he should be willing to spend some time to understand 
how you might install the program on your system. 

The price you pay. The prices of software that we cite in this 
catalog are list prices, which only rarely are the cheapest 
available. You can often get sizable discounts by comparison 
pricing. It goes without saying that you should do this with 
hardware as well as software (almost everything I'm saying 
about software applies to computer buying at stores). A guide to 

the current discount prices on popular machines is the "Street 
Price Guide" found in the magazine Creative Computing. To find 
the rock-bottom levels in software, check out the prices in big 
mail-order houses like 800-SOFTWARE or PC Network (below). 
(You can find their ads in magazines like Byte and PC World.) 
Then go to the store and see the software, feel it, get it explained 
to you— and find out what the store charges for it. Almost 
always it will be somewhat more than the mail-order house. Ten, 
even twenty percent discount isn't a big deal, but it can be up to 
fifty percent— i.e., hundreds of dollars. In that case, see 
"Discount Mail Order," below. 

The differential lies in the store overhead and support, some of 
which you've already consumed by taking up space and time by 
your browsing . Once you've spent time at the store going 
through programs and have made your choice, are you morally 
committed to buy at that store? Maybe, maybe not— your wallet 
and your conscience should decide. But you can also look at it 
this way— what kind of morons would spend an hour with you 
looking at spreadsheets, bid you goodbye when you say you'll 
"think about it," and two weeks (and no purchase) later, spend 
ano^er hour with you looking at database programs? 

If you want the support, you gotta support the store. 

If you know what you want. 

STEWART BRAND: They say 40% of software buying is done 
with mail-order outfits. I'm surprised it isn't more. For a mass 
market these goods are costleee. Is fingering the stuff in a store 
worth thousands of dollars? 

You almost always wind up shopping by phone anyway, to see 
who has what you're looking for, to see who has the best 
prices— might as well try some of these 800 numbers. Often 
they'll have what the retail stores don't. Jim Stockford has been 
collecting experience, reports, and gossip on the subject for two 
years. It looks to me like the only advantage of buying retail 
locally is for the savvy and support of the dealer, right Jim? 

JAMES STOCKFORD: Wrong. Mail order suppliers are in as good 
a position to provide support as your local retailers. They sell to 

a regional or national customer base and typically have a much 
broader selection of merchandise than any retailer could hope to 
stock in a storefront. Margins are low, but volume provides 
enough surplus to pay for a good staff. In fact, every good mail- 
order house has one or more technicians on the payroll who 
thoroughly understand the products the supplier stocks. 

You can often get better information and advice over the phone 
from a qualified technician at a mail-order house than you can 
from a salesperson at a retail store. And if you take their advice 
and buy a product that is wrong for you, a good supplier 
exchanges it or refunds your money. The trick is to find a good 

We have tried to give you a good start with recommendations 
culled from the networks, from reader response to our first 
edition of the Whole Earth Software Catalog, and from our 
experiences. The painful part of this job is that there are so many 
good suppliers we couldn't list them all. 

Highly praised; IBM PC compatible 
computers, MS-DOS and 
CP/M software . . . 

14 West Third Street, Suite 4, Santa Rosa, CA 
95401; 707/575-9472. 

JAMES STOCKFORD: Best source for IBM PC 
compatible computers, peripheral devices, 
software for MS-DOS, CP/M, and Apple with 
Z-80 card. No other mail-order supplier has 
been praised so highly by so many people, 
including retailers. They have been known to 
refuse a sale when they thought the customer 
would have trouble. As a general hardware 
and software supplier there is none better 

IBM, MS-DOS, and most CP/M software ... Low prices on a membership plan 

940 Dwiglit Way, Berkeley, CA 94710; 
800/227-4587 or, in CA, 415/644-3611. 

JAMES STOCKFORD: I lightly panned their 
service in the first issue of the Whole Earth 
Software Review, but the mail brought 
strong support. I checked them out again, 
and I agree— their ser^^ice is very good . Their 
newsletter is of high quality, and they are 
willing to research your needs pretty well for 
a big company. I give them high marks. Their 
National Accounts program offers special 
discounts and assistance in software 
selection to large institutions. (Suggested by 
Betty Corbin.) 

320 West Ohio, Chicago, IL 60610; 800/621-SAVE 
or, in Illinois, 312/280-0002. 

JAMES STOCKFORD: PC Network offers 
several membership plans, from an $8 per 
year "basic" to a $45 per year "VIP." Their 
catalog is huge, and all members get terrific 
prices on hardware and software, including 
the IBM PC, the Apple II, and the Macintosh. 
They allow returns and offer advice and 
technical support. Higher cost memberships 
let you rent software to try before buying 
and offer occasional special discounts not 
available to basic members. 

Commodore 64 . . 

252 Bethlehem Pike, Colmar, PA 18915; 

JAMES STOCKFORD: Hardware and software 
for C-64, some Apple II and MS-DOS. 
Excellent technical support, low repair 
charges. If you have a problem with a 
product, they will exchange it or return your 
money. (Suggested by Milton Sandy) 

Peripheral hardware and software for 
TRS-80 and CP/H/I machines, emphasis 
on CAD, good for neophytes and 
special needs . . . 


P.O. Box 790276, Dallas, TX 75379; 800/527-3582 
or. In TX, 214/337-4346. 

JAMES STOCKFORD: This small shop mainly 
sells hardware peripherals and accessories 
such as printers, disk drives, cables, 
monitors, and so forth. Specialists in TRS-80 
equipment, they also supply standard 
software products for all TRS-80 and many 
CP/M machines. Good telephone help before 
and after you order. Check with them if you 
have unusual needs. 

Hacker fodder . 

380 Swift Avenue, Unit 21, South San Francisco, 
CA 94080; 415/873-3055. 

JAMES STOCKFORD: Lots of chips at great 
prices. RAM in all sizes, logic and linear 
chips, PROM and EPROM chips, disk 
drives — these guys are Japanese-parts 
specialists with real good stuff, cheap. A great 
source for repair shops, consultants, and 

Market value of used micros . . 

S70/yr (4 issues); RO. Box 3395, Reno, NV 89501; 

JAMES STOCKFORD: What's a used 
computer worth? This 130-page quarterly 
combs the want ads across the nation and 
compiles the results. Listings are given for 
the common configuration of each of 500 
different micros and 300 different printers. 
No advertising. 

Software for social scientists and 
others . . . 

mm O 

$24/yr individuals; $40/yr libraries (4 issues); 
Social Science Microcomputer Review, P.O. Box 
8101, Raleigh, NC 27695; 919/737-3607 or 

JAMES STOCKFORD: The folks at North 
Carolina State University offer mail order 
software and a quarterly magazine. Software 
is imaginative (play the role of a journalist in a 
Watergate Simulation), useful (statistics, 
database. Management Style Assessment) 
and never exceeds $30. The price includes 
technical phone support from 8 a.m. 
to 5 p.m. Eastern time. The Social Science 
(Microcomputer Review is a helpful guide to 
hardware and social-science-related 
software: poll sci, sociology, government, 
public policy, etc. 

Great deals on Apple hardware/software 
for members. . . 

290 SW 43rd St., Ronton, WA 98055; 

MARK COHEN: The Apple Pugetsound 
Program Library Exchange (A.PPL.E.) user's 
group has become a major hardware and 
software supplier to Apple II owners all over 
the world. To take advantage of the 
substantial discounts, you must become a 
member— dues are $26 per year with a $23 
one-time initiation fee— but you get a monthly 
magazine, product catalog, and access to 
hotlines throughout the U.S., in Europe, and 
on The Source for free programming help 
from experienced, competent programmers. 

A.PPL.E. has been tireless in their support 
of the Apple II; pledges to the contrary 
notwithstanding, they have given sparse 
coverage to the Mac. 

All ads, lots of ads. . . 


S59/yr 1st class or S28/yr 3rd class (weekly); 
S18/yr3rd class (monthly); Hot Line, Inc., RO. Box 
1373, Fort Dodge, lA 50501; 800/247-2000; in 
Iowa, 800/362-2171; in Canada 518/955-1500. 

JAMES STOCKFORD: The ads are the news. 
Big ads, little ads, microcomputers, 
mainframes, everything in between— ads for 
obsolete computers, electronic scrap, printed 
circuit board repair, used Apples, used 
VAXs— it's a trip through a techno-bazaar. 
(No charge for basic, small classified ads, $5 
for longer ones.) 

List Sale 


Graphics Card 

1499 $319 

Color Card 

$245 $169 



S195 $139 


1375 $239 


$195 $129 

Pascal Compiler 

8300 $199 


S350 $229 

C Compiler 

$395 $249 

Software Publishing® 

pfs Report 

$125 $ 75 

pfs File 

$140 $ 85 

pfs Graph 

$140 $ 85 

pfs Write 

$140 $ 85 

pfs Plan 

$140 $ 85 

Typical price breaks from a mail-order supplier, 
in this case Diamond Software, advertising in the 
May 28, 1985, PC. On p. 61 of this book we 
suggest using the top word processor 
IVIICROSOFT WORD and its indispensable mouse 
with the Hercules Graphics Card to get a high 
resolution screen with 43 lines of text instead of 
the usual 25 on the IBM PC. List prices for the 
software, mouse and card total $1069, plus sales 
tax if you buy locally From this mail-order 
supplier you could get the same stuff for $697, 
saving $372, and no sales tax. Much larger 
discounts, to more than 50%, are common. 

TRS-80 hardware and software . . . 

704 North Pennsylvania Avenue, Lansing, 
48906; 517/482-8270. 

JAMES STOCKFORD: Low prices on 
commercially available software for most of 
the Radio Shack TRS-DOS machines, some 
peripheral equipment (disk drives, printers, 
cables, interface cards, and CRT tubes), and a 
healthy sampling of their own software. They 
publish a newsletter and will develop software 
on a custom basis. Customer support and 
return policy is excellent. 

Their line includes hardware and software for 
CP/M and MS-DOS machines. For users of 
the "less-compatible" MS-DOS machines, 
such as Sanyo or Leading Edge, they will try 
to find answers to questions— very valuable. 

New and used . . 




Free, monthly; 12 West 21st St., New York, NY 
10010; 212/681-8215. To place an ad: 80 Second 
Street Pike, Southhampton, PA 18866; 

JAMES STOCKFORD: New and used hardware 
and liveware— telephones, interface boards, 
computers for sale; jobs wanted or 
available— for telecommunicating 
technicians, engineers, sales reps. 



Dysan diskettes, add-on boards for Apples, 
technical expertise . . . 

CAOFOB^in oieimL 

P.O. Box 3097B, Torrance, CA 90503; 800/421-5041 
or, in CA, 213/217-0500. 

JONATHAN SACHS: California Digital is one of 
the few mail-order connpanies offering Dysan 
diskettes. Their prices are below list and they 
ship immediately. 

JAMES STOCKFORD: In addition to having 
good disk prices, this hardware supplier 
(printers, disk drives, memory chips, add-on 
boards for Apple II machines, and diskettes) 
does such a thorough evaluation of hardware 
they have become a supply source and 
reference for equipment manufacturers 
themselves. Their support and return policies 
are excellent. They will adjust most ass- 
backward customer installations at no charge 
and will always repair or replace any defects 
at no charge. Most warranties are for 90 

Macintosh, Apple II, IBM software . . . 

P.O. 80X338, Granville, OH 43023; 614/587-2938. 

JAMES STOCKFORD: Low prices, excellent 
advice (you're invited to call their technicians 
and ask questions) and service. They accept 
returns on most packages within 30 days. 
(Suggested by John Bryon.) 

■m^^im^^s&^mmMmsiMmAm:am&mi-mMm&mm^^miims^^i^^sti^m^^^^ \ 





iUli Ov..'..I V, I. 


Check old magazines to see that an advertising supplier has been around for long 
enough to be stable. Call them up and ask questions: How long have they been In 
business, what do they carry, how do they handle returns, can they provide 
technical help? Place a few Inexpensive orders at first. The process takes a while, 
but, as with anyone, you have to get to know them to develop a relationship. Use 
your credit card, so if calamity strikes you can ask the bank to reverse the charge 
made to your card. With a little search, you will find wonderful people running 
excellent supply services. When you find them, tell us about them, and we'll help 
spread the word. Consider subscribing to Computerwhat? Well informed and 
easy to read, this four to six page newsletter reviews and recommends new 
products and mail order sources; often includes helpful software tips. When my 
copy gets to my desk, I stop everything and read it. —James Stockford 

Computerwhat?, $12/year. Corbin Consultants, inc., 1111 Richmond Ave., Suite 150, 
Houston, TX 77082; 713/781-7070. 

Kaypro only . 


Village Center, P.O. Box 617, Great Falls, VA 
22066; 703/759-6800. 

PHIL GAREY: They publish a small catalog 
filled mainly with software titles and some 
hardware for Kaypro owners. They don't 
accept credit cards, but will ship C.O.D. If 
you have problems, they will exchange the 
product or refund your money. 

Computer supplies . 

1050 E. Maple Rd., Troy, Ml 48083; 313/589-3440. 

MICHAEL GILIBERTO: Lyben is terrific for 
supplies: disks, paper, printer stands, and so 
on. Disks are competitively priced and there 
are frequent specials. They have a broad line 
of cables, switch boxes, and connectors. 
Shipping costs $2.50/order except for large 
cartons of paper. My orders come fast. 

Beat the system . . . 

lira ¥i ii¥ FUE^ ^^. . Jiil 

ALFRED GLOSSBRENNER: What's the best kept secret in the 
microworld? It's hard to say, but the existence of vast reservoirs 
of free, "public domain" software has to rank right up there with 
the unannounced products currently being developed in the 
backrooms at Apple and IBM. Most people aren't aware of it, but 
there are literally thousands of public domain (or "PD") 
programs available for virtually every brand of personal 

There are games, graphics, and music programs . . . word 
processing, database management, and personal finance . . . 
inventory, accounting, and educational software . . . VISICALC 
"templates" and dBASE II command files . . . plus scores of 
handy utility programs. All of them free — if you know where to 
look. You'll find some of the best sources described below. But 
first, some quick answers to some quick questions. 

Though not yet widely recognized as such, there can be no 
doubt that the disk drive is the new printing press and the floppy 

disk the new medium. For an investment of as little as $500, 
anyone cm write and "publish" a computer program. And from 
the beginning of the micro era in the mid 1970s, that's exactly 
what computer owners have been doing. Typically, a person will 
write a program and contribute it to his or her local computer 
users' group, along with a signed statement that officially places 
the work in the public domain. That means that it can be copied 
and distributed freely. 

Yes. Some free programs are on a par with the very best 
commercial software. PC-WRITE (p. 59), a word processing 
program for the IBM PC, PCjr, and compatibles, is a case in 
point. Written by Bob Wallace, the architect of Microsoft Pascal, 
PC-WRITE can execute a search and replace up to five times 
faster than a leading program listing at $500, and I personally 
find it much easier to use. There is a 70-page manual (with 
index) on the disk for you to print out. 

You can obtain a copy from one of the sources cited below. Or 

you can simply send $10 to Quicksoft, Mr Wallace's firm, at 219 

First N. #224, Seattle, WA 98109. If you like, you can place a 

telephone order and charge it to your Visa or MasterCard. Call 

206/282-0452. , ,. ^ 

(continued on p. 26) 


(continued from p. 25) 

Naturally, not every public domain program is outstanding. With 
thousands— and in some cases tens of thousands— oi 
programs, how could it be otherwise? You may not find all the 
whistles and bells you would like, and error-trapping can be a 
problem. But often you can add these features yourself. In fact, 
there is no better way to learn BASIC, assembler, FORTH, or 
Pascal than to start with the raw material of a public domain 

In addition, almost all the public domain collections associated 
with each brand of computer contain utility programs that often 
have no commercial counterpart. Yet they can make using your 
micro so much easier that you won't be able to live without 
them. For example, a program called WASH presents a disk 
directory one file at a time. As each filename appears, you have 
the option of deleting, re-naming, or copying the file to another 
drive. WASH can be found in both the CP/M and IBM public 
domain, but similar utilities are available for most other 
computers (see pp. 172-174). 

Users' Srmps 

Computer clubs and users' groups have traditionally been the 
primary collection and distribution points for public domain 
software. That's still true today, but many other sources have 
recently begun to appear 

If you belong to a local users' group, the "Software Librarian" is 
the person to see about getting copies of the programs in the 
group's free software library. If you've yet to join a group, 
contact your computer dealer for information about groups in 
your area. But don't worry if there isn't a group where you live. 
Many users' groups accept remote members and make their free 
software collections available by mail. The cost of membership 
ranges from $10 to $25 a year and usually includes a 
subscription to a monthly newsletter or magazine. Disks packed 
with free software are usually available for about $6, including 
the disk, disk mailer, and postage. 

If you have an extra $28, 1 strongly advise using it to pay the 
annual membership dues for The Boston Computer Society 
(BCS). BCS is the world's premier computer users' group. There 
is simply nothing else like it, and with more than 12,000 
members worldwide, it offers an excellent way to plug into the 
users' group network. More to the point, BCS serves as an 
umbrella for more than 35 special interest groups (SIGs) 
focusing on everything from Apples to Artificial Intelligence to 
Kaypros, Osbornes, IBMs, and UNIX. Virtually all of these SIGs 
maintain free software collections. For more information 
contact: The Boston Computer Society, One Center Plaza, 
Boston, MA 02108, or phone 617/367-8080 between 9:30 a.m. 
and 5:30 p.m. , Eastern Time. 

Nm-Users'-Gmup Smrees 

There are also a growing number of non-users'-group sources. 
Though it isn't always the case, these companies often offer 
public domain software on a "value added" basis. The "value" 
may consist of testing and debugging or adding additional 
features to the software. Or it may consist of preparing 
"collections" of PD programs designed for a particular 

application. Disks containing nothing but games or nothing but 
financial programs may be offered, for example. The cost per 
disk is usually slightly more than you would pay when ordering 
from a users' group. But since few users' groups classify their 
software by application, you might have to order several users' 
group disks to obtain all of the programs you want. 

The American Software Publishing Company (ASPC) is a good 
example of non-users'-group source. Sheryl Nutting, the firm's 
president, estimates that ASPC has more than 10,000 public 
domain programs for Apple, Atari, Commodore, IBM, Texas 
Instruments, Timex, and TRS-80 computers. The software is 
available on tape or disk and the average cost is between 20 
and 95 cents per program. For more information, contact the 
firm at: RO. Box 57221. Washington, D.C. 20037 
or phone 202/887-5834. 

The Apple Avocation Alliance (1803 Warren Avenue, Cheyenne, 
WY 82001) offers over 185 disks of Apple software, including 
Apple CP/M and Pascal, at a cost of $3 per disk ($2.55 if you 
order ten or more) plus $2 shipping and handling. This mail- 
order firm offers very good deals on hardware, commercial 
software, and supplies. The PD programs are listed at the back 
of the 150-page catalog. To obtain a copy, send $2 ($3 for 
shipment overseas) or phone 307/632-8561 between 8 a.m. and 
5 p.m., Mountain Time, for more information. MasterCard and 
Visa accepted. 

You'll find inventory, checkbook balancing, and personal 
investment programs on Disk 044, a database management 
program on Disk 047, and communications and related 
programs on Disk 075. But if you're going to order only two or 
three disks, I suggest Disk 020 (SPARKEE), Disk 229 (ONE-KEY 
DOS), and Eamon Master 01 . SPARKEE is a color graphics 
program that produces a different dynamic design each time you 
hit a key on your keyboard. ONE-KEY DOS makes Apple DOS 3.3 
much easier to use. And the Eamon disk (there are over 40 of 
them in all) will intrigue any fan of ADVENTURE (see p. 40). 

Commodore owners should consider contacting Public Domain, 
Inc. , at 5025 S. Rangeline Road, West Milton, OH 45383, for a 
free catalog of free programs for the C-64, VIC-20, PET and 
SX-64. Run by Bill Munch and George Ewing, this company 
specializes in "best of" PD collections. Programs are available 
on both tape and disk. The cost is $10, postage included, 
regardless of medium. Phone 513/698-5638; Visa and 

There are many excellent programs in these collections, but one 
is so outstanding that it deserves special mention. It's called 
MONOPLE 64, and you'll find it on Disk C2. The program creates 
the Monopoly game board on your color TV, rolls the on-screen 
dice, moves your token, serves as the "banker," and keeps track 
of all your buy/sell transactions. I guarantee that if you have a 
C-64, you and a friend will spend hours playing this game. The 
same disk contains POKER (five-card stud), OTHELLO (like the 
board game), a logic game, a temperature conversion program, 
a bar graph generating program, and 20 other programs. 

If you own an IBM or compatible, I suggest contacting the PC 
Software Interest Group (PC/SIG) at 1030 East Duane, Suite J, 
Sunnyvale, CA 94086. This firm offers a 110-page catalog of 
over 135 disks of free IBM software. The catalog is $5.95, 
postage included, and disks sell for $6 each. (California 
residents, add 6.5% sales tax.) Visa and MasterCard are 
accepted, so you can order by phone if you like. Call 


How to Get Free 
Software; Alfred 
$14.95; St. Martin's 
Press, 175 Fifth 
Avenue, New York, NY 
10010; 212/674-5151; or 


STEWART BRAND: No one we know has a 
more comprehensive knowledge of software 
than Alfred Glossbrenner. His How to Buy 
Software (p. 6) and The Complete Handbook 
of Personal Computer Communications 
(p. 139) are the best of their kind. If you find 
what he's written here useful, you will want 
his new book, How to Get Free Software, 
which truly has chapter and verse on the 
subject. The major problem with public 
domain programs is finding out about them 
and finding where to get them. He takes care 
of both. (The minor problems are dealing with 

the sheer volume of choices and working 
without manuals.) 

From How li Get Free Software: 

The most important thing to remember is 
that a large percentage of free software 
sources are volunteer organizations. 
Although many of them will surprise you 
with how quickly they fill your request, you 
cannot necessarily expect the same rapid 
response a commercial firm may provide. 

Headed by Richard Petersen, this is one of the best-organized, 
nnost professionally run sources of free software in the entire 
public domain. In the not too distant future, it may very well 
become the source of free IBM software. There are simply too 
many excellent free programs to mention. Send for the catalog. 
You'll think you've died and gone to free software heaven. 

CP/M users should consider contacting Elliam Associates at 
24000 Bessemer Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367. Phone: 
213/348-4278 (evenings from 7:00 on; weekends anytime.) Bill 
Roch, the firm's president, offers virtually all the programs 
found in the huge libraries of CP/M users' groups. But unlike 
most users' groups, he can supply them in over 40 different 
floppy disk formats (excluding Apple and Commodore). Prices 
range from about $12 to $20 per collection, depending on the 
capacity of your disk format and the number of floppies 
required. Sending for the free catalog is an excellent way to get 

Free CP/M programs of special note include BIZMASTER, a 
complete business software package occupying six single-sided 
eight-inch disks that formerly sold for $160 but is now in the 
public domain; DIMS — "Dan's Information Management 
System" — a file manager by Dan Dugan (at least one major 
magazine has used DIMS to keep track of its authors, articles, 
and other information); ED (a full-screen word processor); 
READ (displays 24 lines of a file at a time and prompts you 
to hit ENTER for more); RECOVER or UNERA ("unerases" 
erased files); and XDIR (an "extended directory" utility that 
alphabetizes and presents disk files in three columns). The most 
famous free CP/M program of all is M0DEM7 (p. 150), a 
communications program by Ward Christensen that has had a 
major influence on commercial communications software. 

Speaking of communications, you should know that it is 
possible to obtain a large percentage of the free software 
available for your machine over the telephone. If your computer 
is equipped for online communications you can dial a free BBS 
(Bulletin Board System) or RCPM (Remote CP/M) system and 
"download" programs directly into your machine. The only 
other thing you need is a list of phone numbers, and you can 
obtain them from many computer magazines. Or you can 
subscribe to the "On Line Computer Telephone Directory" 
($9.95/year; $15.95 for overseas shipment). The 400 to 500 
phone numbers in this publication are tested and updated 
quarterly. Contact: OLCTD, PO. Box 10005, Kansas City, MO 
64111-9990. You might also consider Plumb, a "best bets" BBS 
newsletter published by Ric Manning (STQ007; 72715, 210). 

The cost is $26.50 (8 issues). Back issues are available at $5 
each, or eight for $24. Contact Plumb, Riverside Data, Inc., PO. 
Box 300, Harrods Creek, KY 40027. Voice line: (502) 228-3820. 
Note that both the OLCTD and Plumb are available electronically 
onNewsNet(p. 145). 

You will also find huge collections of free software on the 
CompuServe Information Service (CIS), and on The Source (see 
p. 140 for rates). 

If you subscribe to The Source, you'll find a host of Apple 
programs (including Macintosh software)— follow the menus to 
User Publishing. The free software on CompuServe can be 
found in the database sections of the more than 60 SIGs on the 
system. Many of these Special Interest Groups are devoted to a 
particular brand of computer. Because the documentation you 
receive may not explain how to use a CIS SIG, you may never 
know about all the free software unless you do the following: 

1. Type GO PCS1 at any CIS exclamation prompt. This will take you 
to the Personal Computing Section. 

2. Follow the menus until you get to "Groups and Clubs," then 
choose the SIG you want. 

3. At your first opportunity upon entering the SIG, type xao at 
the prompt, or enter the menu item for "Data Libraries." 

4. That will take you to the XAO database within the SIG. Once 
there, enter xa at the next prompt to produce a list of all available 

5. Choose a database and enter s/des/key: followed by the 
keyword you would like to search for when scanning ("s") a 
program's description ("des"). You might try BASIC for starters. 

6. When you see a description that looks interesting, you can 
download the program itself by entering typ followed by the 
filename at the next prompt. For machine language files, key in 
DOW and follow the resulting instructions for using XMODEM or 
some other error-checking protocol. 

There are also many other excellent users' group and non- 
users'-group sources, but the information provided here will get 
you off to a good start. Once you enter the world of free 
software, you may never look back. Indeed, there may be no 
reason to, since the chances are you'll find that nearly 
everything you need is available for free. 


r~>,ri n'?./7n!^,ri^ 

Steven Levy, Domain Editor 

STEVEN LEVY: There are by and large two kinds of computer 
owners: those who bought computers to play games and those 
who lie about it. The fact is that computers are almost by nature 
game machines. Even business applications, done correctly, 
become gamelike in their execution and manipulation, and it is 
the rarest of computerists who doesn't sneak a shoot-'em-up or 
an adventure onto the machine when the boss (or the superego) 
isn't watching. Not running games on your computer is like 
refusing to take your Ferrari out of first gear 

Literally thousands of games are available for computers, and 
most of them are mindless diversions. I don't object to mindless 
diversions now and then, and I include a few of the most 
relentlessly stupefying ones in my selection. But many computer 
games are much more: challenging brain-puzzlers that extend 
your problem-solving abilities, elaborate simulations that make 
you master of tiny universes, imaginative flights of fantasy that 
encourage you to create a persona within the machine, and tests 
of your own creative powers that secretly give you lessons on 
how the world works. All in the guise of play. 

I make no claim that the games reviewed here are the definitive 
best of all those available. Games are not like word processors, 
where you choose the best you can find and use it. They're more 
like books, where you get involved for a while— sometimes to 
Proustian lengths — and then read another. Every game treated 
here, however, is great in its way. I found out about each one by 
asking people what games they really love to play. Sometimes I 
followed up by asking the suggestors to write about those 
games. Other times I liked the game so much I wrote about it 
myself. (You'll notice this happened a lot.) 

The ideal game is fairly easy to get started on, but "deep" 
enough to give you new rewards as you keep playing. (The term 
"deep" here is borrowed from Trip Hawkins of Electronic Arts, a 

company that publishes some deep games.) The ideal game 
uses the computer fully but unobtrusively, and never feels like a 
chore. It makes you want to quit your job and play it all day, at 
least until you get sick of it. You don't get sick of great games 

I categorize computer games under five loose headings. 

Strategy games— there are two kinds of these. The first are 
simulations, notably those that re-create conflicts (the computer 
has modified the board-based war game). Then there are the 
pure game games — not translated-to-code chess but creations 
that owe their existence to the computer. I'm particularly inclined 
to this genre, since it is not only the most innovative, but also 
the one that promises the most mind-bending future 

Sports and noncomputer games take advantage of the abilities 
of the machine to make familiar games into something entirely 
new, either by providing electronic playmates or by making 
things so easy you wonder why you put up with the original 
game before the computer came along. The sports games in this 
category beat the old board games all to hell when it comes to 
sports simulations. 

In action games han6/eye coordination and quick reflexes are 
more important than the knowledge gained from a lifetime of 
study. Sometimes the action—and, yes, the violence— can be 
therapeutic. Often, though, action games are derivative, and 
their shallowness makes their $30 pricetags outrageous. I tried 
for a selection of the most absorbing, the ones with some 
elements of thought, the most graphically stunning, and the 
most slyly seductive of the bunch, including a couple of 
programs that give you a turn at designing games yourself. 

Adventure games exist only on the computer. They employ the 
logical branching patterns of the computer to pose elaborate 
puzzles. Almost all adventures, whether they are limited to text 
or are illustrated with colorful pictures, involve some sort of 
quest, with you giving instructions to the machine, usually in the 



ir\n (7:i( 

STEWART BRAND: In our lives play precedes work. Play is a 
kind of pretend working where mistakes count but don't 
count. You lose points, maybe, and pride, but not livelihood, 
so you freely make mistakes, and you freely learn. For a 
growing majority of personal computer users— kids 
naturally, adults if they're smart— the first use of these 
machines is to play with them. 

You're starting at the top. No programs push the limits of 
technique and design ingenuity of personal computers as 
thoroughly as games. No programs are as clever, as kind, as 
blatant, in reaching out to the user and compelling 
involvement. In the world of software development, 
computer games are invariably invoked as the ideal in "self- 
evident" program design. Elements that you will find in 
business application programs years from now are evolving 
in bright colors before your eyes in software like PINBALL 

and CHOPLIFTER! (p. 35). 

Steven Levy loves playing 
computer games. His 
research for his book Hackers 
(reviewed on p. 174) gives 
him perspective on the place 
of games at the cutting edge 
of computer artistry. His 
writing for Rolling Stone 
and Popular Computing 
gives him perspective on their 
place in Current Events. 

Steven Levy 

Computer games are treated in the press these days like 
popular films or TV or music, but something deeper is going 
on. Those aren't sports; this is. Those are for spectators; this 

form of two-word commands ("Go east" or "Enter 
transporter"). This allows you to move through dozens of 
"rooms" on the way to slaying the dragon or finding the 
murderer Frequently, you'll get stuck at a seeming impasse and 
find yourself making a long-distance call to an adventure 
publisher's hot line. 

Role-playing games are not just variations on adventure games: 
They are the closest thing we have to truly interactive novels. 
Role-playing games, to quote documentation from one 
publisher, are those "in which the player assumes the identity of 
a character within the fantasy world of the game itself. Such a 
character is usually formed by assigning random values to 
special characteristics such as strength, intelligence, luck, or 
charisma. These characteristics in turn determine the capability 
of the character in combat, negotiation, and encounters with 
other beings." As you proceed, the value of the traits grows, 
making the characters more powerful. The games sometimes 
take hundreds of hours to play, and players develop intensely 
personal relationships with the characters they have developed. 
It's weird, but people have reported deep grief when some Ore of 
the Ninth Level wipes out a character after months of dungeon 
combat and questing. These are less games than ways of life for 
devoted addicts, yet the proliferation of computers has made 
this addiction far from uncommon. 


When looking for games, try to see the program actually running 
in the store. Check out reviews in such magazines as Family 
Computing (p. 11) and Creative Computing, or in periodicals 
and books dedicated to your machine. (The Book Company's 
series called The Book of Apple [Commodore 64, IBM] 
Software is excellent. Arrays, Inc./The Book Company, 11223 
South HindryAve., Los Angeles, CA 90045; 213/410-9466; or 
COMPUTER LITERACY.) Usually the games on the bestseller list 
compiled by Billboard magazine or the Softsel distributor (some 
stores post the lists) will give you value. 


I concentrate on five machines. The Apple II family because it 
is the Apple. The Atari computer because with its exceptional 
graphics and sound it is the quintessential game machine, with 
the biggest selection. The Commodore 64 because of its 
popularity and power. And the IBM PC because a lot of you 
have one, and the game publishers have not neglected it (as 
they have the ill-fated PCjr). Those of you with IBM clones may 
or may not find that these games run on your machines; test 
them first. The fifth computer, new this year, is the Macintosh, 
a wonderful game machine despite its lack of color display. For 
those of you who own Kaypros, Morrows, and Gsbornes and 
are kicking yourselves because you didn't know that 
Broderbund did not publish a CP/M CHOPLIFTER!, I've tried to 
do the best I can, but you have only yourselves to blame for 
the meager selection. Only a few games for the Tandy TRS 
series appear, because (1) it's not a good game computer and 
(2) Tandy's restrictive attitude towards third-party software 
developers has limited the selection. I've generally ignored the 
(already obsolete) machines which do little more than play 
games, like the VIC-20 and TI-99. 

Almost all the games reviewed are easily available from their 
publishers, but for games that are not (as in the case of public 
domain games and games available only on online services), the 
access section tells you where to find them. Often a game will 
come in versions for more than one machine; if play varies 
considerably from one version to the next, we mention it. The 
exception is when games run on the less powerful VIC 20 and Tl 
machines; in those cases you can assume inferior play, unless 
we specify otherwise. 

One final word: Wherever possible I've included the names of 
the game designers. The people who devise these delicious and 
edifying entertainments are artists and deserve recognition. 
Though I curse them when their creations draw my computer 
personae into dire and fatal fantasy catastrophe, I salute them 

Game Magazines 

STEVEN LEVY: The great computer game shakeout in the past 
two years has shaken out some great computer game 
magazines, including two we recommended last year. 
Fortunately, a new incarnation of one we didn't mention has 
taken up some of the slack: Computer Entertainment (formerly 
Electronic Games) is a slick, four-color magazine that 
combines behind-the-scene profiles of the gaming world and 
savvy previews of new hardware with a slew of reviews from 
knowledgeable people, largely the best survivors from the out- 
of-business magazines of the past few years. 

One magazine that did survive, and quite handsomely, is the 
relatively staid Computer Gaming World. This highly literate 
publication eschews flash for substance, and is at its best at 
long analyses of complex games, including detailed strategies 
for mastering them. For serious fans of strategy games, the 
subscription price of CGW is an investment in getting more out 
of some of those monster $50 simulation games they've been 
hacking away at. 

Computer Gaming World: $13.50/yr (6 issues); Computer 
Gaming World, PO. Box 4566, Anaheim, CA 92803-4566 
©Computer Entertainment: $18/yr (12 issues); Computer 
Entertainment, P.O. Box 1128, Dover, NJ 07891. 

Some of the participants in tlie recent "Hackersf Conference" join in a multi- 
player session ofBALLBLAZER (p. 34). Using special hookups, up to 40 people 
can team-play this extraterrestrial soccer-style game. Cooperation is essential. 
At home, BALLBIAZER emphasizes individual joystick skills, pitting you against 
a friend or the computer. 

Two post-computer chess games . 

Westfall, Freeman & Reiche; Apple II family; 48K 
® IBM PC compatibles; 64K; $34.95 ® Atari 
400/800/XL series; 48K ® Commodore 64; $22.95; 
joystick; copy-protected? YES; 


Westfall, Freeman & Reiche; Apple II family; 48K; 
$39.95 • Atari 400/800/XL series; 48K « 
Commodore 64; $32.95; joystick; copy-protected? 

both from Electronic Arts, 2755 Campus Dr., San 
Mateo, CA 94403; 415/571-7171. 

Steve Capps; Apple Macintosh; copy-protected? 
YES; $39.95; Apple Computer, 20525 Marlani 
Ave., Cupertino, CA 95014; 800/538-9696. 

STEWART BRAND: Dungeons and Dragons 
meets chess, and I'm addicted. So far the 
computer is more subtle and violent than I 
am, but I'm gaining. 

It's a chess-size board, the characters line up 
like chess people, and they move and 
capture, and that's the end of the 

Moving the yellow square at left will pinpoint your 
next move against the forces of darliness in 
ARCHON. if you land on a square occupied by a 
blue piece, you'll be thrust into a fierce, arcade- 
like battle. 

Click the Macintosh mouse over the smile of the 
and the playing board appears (as here) upside 
down. Oddly enough, some players get better 
scores this way 

resemblance. The two sides— representing 
the forces of Light and Darkness— have well- 
matched but quite different pieces. (About 
half are female, evenly distributed; this game 
mines a more chthonic vein of myth than 
chess does.) The mage on one side is a 
wizard, on the other a sorceress, each with 
equivalent but different talents of spell 
making, mobility, toughness, and weaponry. 
So it goes, through banshees, Valkyries, 
unicorns, basilisks, goblins, knights, 
archers, golems, trolls, and so on. 

In similar fashion, ARCHON II (ADEPT) pits 
the forces of Chaos against the forces of 
Order. By the same authors and publisher as 
ARCHON, the sequel has different creatures, 
different battlegrounds, different strategies, 
same compelling quality of play. 

GLASS, the first great Macintosh game, is a 
closer cousin to chess than ARCHON. With 
stunning 3-D animated graphics (you see 
chess pieces, even the cross-shaped cursor, 
get larger as they approach), a chessboard 
appears with pieces styled like Tenniel's 
looking-glass illustrations in Lewis Carroll. 
You pick a chess piece and your blond-haired 
Alice moves like that piece. You'd better move 
her quickly, because everyone on the board 
is after her and will jump her whenever 
possible. You, as Alice, can capture the other 
pieces, but since they move so fast, you gotta 
fake them out. Also, avoid a moving trap- 
door—or trick the others into falling into it. 

The mouse movements are easily mastered— 
send the cursor to your next move and click 
(Alice ignores illegal moves). The action is 
so fast here, you don't stop to enjoy the 
delightful albeit Mac-black-and-white 
graphics— you get involved, and get the best 
training ever for those five-second-limit chess 
games that some masters play. I think the 
Mac is going to be a great game machine, and 

Sliooting space ships via modem . . . 

All machines with modem & CompuServe 
Information Service hookup; available at regular 
CompuServe rates (see table, p. 140); 
CompuServe Information Service, 5000 Arlington 
Centre, P.O. Box 20212, Columbus, OH 43220; 
800/848-8199 or, in OH, 614/457-0802. 

STEVEN LEVY: No single event in computer 
gaming has given me a bigger rush than my 
first MEGAWARS kill. I was sitting at a 
computer in Palo Alto connected by modem 
to the CompuServe host computer in 
Columbus, piloting a spaceship called Wolf, 
I was in the service of the Empire, locked in 
eternal battle with the Colonists (the usual 
epic scenario — I think computer games are 
single-handedly restoring myth to a central 
place in the hearts of young America). To put 
it bluntly, I destroyed the Colonist ship 

Levant. Who the pilot was, I'll never know. A 
twelve-year-old in Georgia? A grandmother in 
Walla Walla? But that's interactive 
telegaming, and I think it's a wave of the 

MEGAWARS is a variant of the old Star Trek 
computer game, where you moved across 
various sectors of a galaxy seeking to blow up 
unfriendly enemies while annexing the 
universe. This multiplayer CompuServe 
incarnation is complicated, and I didn't even 
attempt it until I had sent for the 38-page 
manual. (Like most CompuServe manuals 
that should have been sent to you in the first 
place, this is available at an extra cost via 
CompuServe's "Feedback" service.) After 
studying how to scan, move around, and 
confront my enemy, I logged on, ready to join 
the cosmic struggle, individual battles of 
which had been continuing for more than a 

Since MEGAWARS requires you to join one of 
two sides eternally at odds, you automatically 
have partners, and they can communicate to 
you through "radio." It's a thrill to hear from 
real-life allies. Though the modem-received 
graphics are limited, I felt I was soaring. And 
when, after a few sessions, I could finally 
control the commands well enough to shoot 
down an enemy, I was ecstatic, though later I 
got wistful, wondering if I'd made some 
stranger feel really bad. There was obviously 
no way to take him or her out for a drink later 
to prove it was all in good fun. 

Still, late at night when your friends are 
asleep, you can count on some MEGAWARS 
action on CompuServe (though at normal 
online rates it can get costly). Since you get 
"promoted" and get more powerful ships as 
you accumulate points, you have incentive to 
keep going. But even without that, the 
MEGAWARS lure is strong. 



W File Edit 

Deceptively simple, infinitely deep 

John Conway; Apple II family ® IBM PC 
compatibles ® CP/M (SVV); $10 per disk; copy- 
protected? NO; Public Domain Software Copying 
Co., 33 Gold Street, #13, New York, NY 10038; 
212/732-2565; IBM version ($6/disk plus $4/order 
for shipping) also available from PC Software 
Interest Group, 1030 East Duane, Suite J, 
Sunnyvale, CA 94086; 408/730-9291; Also 
(including ADVENTURE, ELIZA, and PONG); IBM 
PC and compatibles; PCjr; 64K ® Apple II family; 
64K o Commodore 64; $29.95; copy-protected? 
YES; Software Country; 270 N. Canon Dr., #1297, 
Beverly Hills, CA 90210; 800/245-2057 or, in CA, 

STEVEN LEVY: In the November 1970 
Scientific American, Martin Gardner 
introduced LIFE, a simulation conceived by 
British philosopher John Conway. It fired the 
imaginations of logicians, gamesters, and 
poetic mathematicians all over the world, but 
none were so excited as the first computer 
hackers, who could fully explore the 
mysteries suggested by what I consider the 
deepest of all computer games. 

The rules to LIFE are elementary. Picture a 
grid. Each square is a "cell." Each turn of the 
game— called a "generation"— determines a 
cell's fate: A living cell bordering on two or 
three living neighbors survives. With fewer 
neighbors, a cell dies of isolation. With more, 
it's fatally stifled by overpopulation. A dead 
cell bordering on exactly three living cells is 
"born" and becomes a live cell. 

LIFE works on many levels. On the simplest, 
it is fun to set up a pattern— a "colony" of 
LIFE cells— and move along generation by 

generation to see what happens. The patterns 
are often hypnotically beautiful until the 
almost inevitable end: a stable "still life," a 
loop where a colony "pulses" between two 
patterns, or a blank dead screen. The 
exceptions to extinction are the rare self- 
replicating patterns. 

One of the most fascinating hours of my life 
was spent before the computer screen of LIFE 
master and canonical hacker R. William 
Gosper, discoverer of the notorious "Glider 
Gun" (a deathless LIFE colony that snakes 
through the universe spitting off offspring). 
We raced through billions of generations of 
intricate patterns. Gosper says he "hacks 
LIFE" because it's one of the few remaining 
places where mathematical discoveries can 
be made. For those of us who are not world- 
class mathematicians, LIFE is still edifying, 
putting us viscerally in contact with the 
hauntingly beautiful nexus of logic and vision. 

Gosper uses an intricate LIFE program fixed 
to run on the $60,000 Symbolics LISP 
machine, but versions of LIFE run on virtually 
every microcomputer You can find a BASIC 
program for LIFE in many books. Among the 
fastest and most widely available of 
microcomputer LIFEs is the slick Macintosh 
version written by Bill "MacPaint" Atkinson; 
almost every Mac users' group has it, and 
it's also downloadable from CompuServe (p. 
144) for free (in the MAUG special interest 

Fully-formed Glider Gun shooting gliders off to 
lower right. The "eater" at lower left consumes 
gliders as they re-enter the screen to prevent 
them from corrupting the gun. From Software 
Country's adaptation of William Poundstone's 
LIFE program. 

This life colony has reached a stable state where 
neither degeneration nor regeneration is 
occuring. On the computer screen, parts of this 
population are actually oscillating between two 
different shapes. 

Battle of tlie micro sliips . . . 

Richard Hefter & Jack Rice; Apple II family; 48K; 
paddles or keyboard; one disk drive; color 
recommended; $39.95; copy-protected? YES; 
Weekly Reader Family Software, Xerox Education 
Publications, 245 Long Hill Rd., Middletown, CT 
06457; 800/852-5000 or, in NJ, 203/347-7251. 

Wayne Garris; Apple II family; 48K • Apple III • 
Atari (all machines); 48K; paddle recommended; 
$39.95; copy-protected? YES; Strategic 
Simulations, Inc., 883 Stierlin Road, BIdg. A-200, 
Mountain View, CA 94043; 415/964-1353. 

STEWART BRAND: Qualifications to review 
these games, sir: I have read the entire 
Horatio Hornblower series of novels twice; I 
own a sailing vessel (sadly under-equipped 
with cannon); I know enough not to spit to 
windward, sir. I take great glee in these 

Both of them reek of the salt, gunpowder, and 
blood of naval warfare of the eighteenth and 

nineteenth centuries— single-ship encounters 
of historic British, American, and French 
vessels. The BROADSIDES manual goes on to 
instruct you in how to design your own ships 
and capabilities, and the program will fight 
them accordingly. Electronic ship in a bottle. 

Unlike many simulation games, these two 
play happily as action games. They pass the 
shout test: the aarrgghls and oh nols are 
more often within than at the game. 

The two make a nice sequence. OLD 
IRONSIDES is the easier, faster, more 
engaging one, and it also sucks you into the 
fantasy quicker with its poster painting of 
battle, its "logbook" manual, its salty 
graphics and lettering on the screen. It is 
strictly for two players and works better with 
paddles than keyboard (so does 
BROADSIDES). Play involves a plausible, 
manageable, but challenging array of 
considerations— wind direction, powder 
availability, cannon damage, sail damage, 
ramming versus broadside attack, and so on. 
You can— unrealistically but interestingly— 
sail off the screen "into the fog" and cleverly 
navigate by compass to fire from there. 

BROADSIDES goes far deeper. You have more 
commands, including speed, aiming (at sails 
or hull, at various ranges), kinds of shot, etc. 
There is a richer blur of play considerations 
viewed onscreen— wind speed (in knots) and 
wind direction, hull damage, crew losses, 
current speed, maximum speed available, 
distance to enemy, etc. And there are many 
more options of play— solitaire or two-player, 
level of complexity, and ship-design options. 
Also, a second phase of battle takes place 
when you grind your ships together and 
board the enemy. The screen switches to the 
two decks, and success becomes a matter of 
swordplay and sniper fire. It's more abstract 
and less satisfying than the cannon stuff; still, 
a fair amount of action is available, including 
cutting the grappling lines that hold the ships 

OLD IRONSIDES you can try in a store to see 
if you like it; BROADSIDES takes longer to set 
up. OLD IRONSIDES is easier for younger 
players, visitors, or quick games. 
BROADSIDES tends to longer games and will 
probably have a longer play life in the house. 
Jollytars will want both. 

The gladiator arena ofROBOTWAR, where your 
personal creation does battle, either with a 
computer opponent or a robot programmed by a 
friend or (more likely) enemy Once the battle 
starts, you helplessly watch your progeny's 
travail— it's the first computer game to make you 
feel like a trainer at a cockfight. 

Teaching your computer to fight . 

Silas Warner; Apple II family; 48K; $39.95; copy- 
protected? YES; MUSE Software, 347 H. Charles 
St., Baltimore, MD 21201; 301/659-7212. 

Patty Denbrook & Jim Templeman; Apple II family; 
48K • Atari 400/800/XL series; 40K • Commodore 
64; $34.95; copy-protected? YES; Strategic 
Simulations, Inc., 883 Stierlin Road, BIdg. A-200, 
Mountain View, CA 94043; 415/964-1353. 

RUSSELL SIPE: For years many fans of board 
war games and other detailed strategy games 
suffered a major obstacle to playing their 
beloved games: a lack of opponents. Then 
came the microcomputer— someone who 
plays when you want to play, where you want 
to play, and doesn't blow smoke in your face! 
But a computer makes a lousy opponent. 
Since it is not human, victory and defeat leave 
you with a distinctly antiseptic feeling. 

But ROBOTWAR and FORTRESS have the best 
of both worlds. They permit human versus 
computer or human versus human 
competition at the keyboard, and they also 
permit humans geographically separated to 
fight it out tooth and nail. 

In both, you can design a "player" that can 
be sent, on disk, to other gamers who can pit 

their creations against yours. In both cases 
the procedure involves "programming" a 
"player" who performs in the game 
according to the wisdom and insights you put 
in. In other words, these games allow you to 
train your army, fighter, team, and the rest. 

ROBOTWAR players program "robots" to 
fight on a hi-res battlefield against other 
programmed "robots." The programming 
language looks familiar to anyone with even a 
rudimentary understanding of computer 
programming. Since the robot's "onboard 
computer" contains 34 registers to control 
location, direction, speed, damage checking, 
tracking, and so on, developing a true 
"contender" can take weeks. 

The magazine I edit. Computer Gaining 
World (p. 29), sponsors an annual 
ROBOTWAR tournament. Contestants submit 
their robot creations on disks and show up for 
the computer slugfest. Grown men turn into 
raving maniacs or bowls of Jello in response 
to the fate of their creations. 

FORTRESS is a game in the classic tradition 
of Go. The object is to build castles in order to 
control more territory than your opponent at 
the end of the game. Like many classic 
games, FORTRESS is easy to learn but 
requires much study to master The 
interesting twist is that you can train a 
number of computer players to play against 
you— or other game players. Strategic 
Simulations, publisher of the game, runs 
FORTRESS tournaments, and I'm sure other 
play-by-mail tournaments will pop up in time. 

Uforehouse tUorkshop Enuironments Options 

Chipwit Greedy in the environment Greedville. 
Each oil can he eats gets him 50 points and he 
gets fuel by eating coffee and pie. The Debug 
Panel shows each chip as the robot carries out its 


Build a software robot . . . 

ijfUriWIld ^^ 

Doug Sharp and Mike Johnson. Copy-protected. 
Apple II family (64K; mouse, joystick or Koalapad 
required); $39.95. Macintosh; $49.95. 
Brainpower, Inc., 24009 Ventura Blvd., Suite 250, 
Calabasas, CA 91302; 818/884-6911; Commodore 
64 version ($27) available from Epyx, Inc., 1043 
Kiel Ct., Sunnyvale, CA 94089; 408/745-0700. 

STEVEN LEVY: If you want to build your own 
software robots even more quickly than 
possible with ROBOTWARS, you might try 
CHIPWITS, a package which manages to 
blend frivolity with an "educational" 
message (as does the excellent ROBOT 
ODYSSEY, p. 191 .) Your robot is a charming 
fellow with spectacles, sneakers, and a voice 
that rivals R2D2 in terms of sonic 
personality; you program him by assembling 
graphic representations of functions, pasted 
together so it all makes structural sense. 
Not terribly flexible, but it allows for plenty 
of possibilities. The best part, of course, 
is loosing your creation into the world, 
which in this case can be any of eight 
environments, some of which favor 
destructive robots while others favor 
cautious robots who sniff for trouble before 
they spring into action. 




Itself seemingly perfect, the computer 
evokes anxiety about one's own 
perfectibility There is pressure from a 
machine that leaves no one and no other 
things to blame. It is hard to walk away from 
the perfect mirror from the perfect test. It is 
hard to walk away from a video game on 
which you could do better next time. 

—Sherry Turkic, The Second Self, 
Computers and the Human Spirit 


Stimulating simulation . . . 


Paul Arlton & Ed Dawson. Version 1.2. Copy- 
protected. IBM PC compatibles (128K; graphics 
card required, RGB monitor recommended) • 
Appie lie (126K)/lic; $39.95; IVEacintosh; S49.95. 
Spectrum HoloByte. inc., lOSO Walnut. Suite 323, 
Boulder, CO 803 QZ; QOO/621-8385, ext. 262. 

RICHARD DALTON: The best simulations take 
you into situations you would never have 
access to except via a computer GATO does 
all that and more, unless you happen, 
coincidentally, to have been a "GATO"-Gfass 
submarine commander in WWII. Yes. war- 
toy haters, GATO puts you in the role of a 
sub captain prowling the Pacific, and your 
missions involve the rapacious destruction of 
the Japanese Imperial Fleet, circa 1943. 

Like the famous FLIGHT SIMULATOR 
program. GATO puts you in controi of all 
your vehicle's resources: fuel, speed, up, 
down and a few new twists— torpedoes, 
oxygen and battery power (while 
submerged), and periscopes. 

Your mission assignments, by the way, 
reach you through Morse code, For the non- 

Morse crowd, you can get to the seventh of 
ten levels before the program cuts off your 
text description of the assignments from 
" Corns ub pack." After that it's aii dits and 

The experience fs adrenaiin-stimulating, but 
in an abstract way. You get more kicks out of 
the swelling Captain's Log of sinkings than 
from the actual denouement of a clunky 
freighter, even if its twisty evasions end in a 
colorful explosion. 

GATO plays extremely well. As you move up 
the scale of difficuity, the "enemy's" 
response becomes more sophisticated^able 
to withstand more than one torpedo before 
sinking: capable of clever maneuvers they 
couldn't make beforei moving at higher 
speed requiring a more subtle approach on 
your part (clue: destroyers are suckers for a 
head-on approach; difficult any other way), 

I heartily endorse GATO for every corporate 
computer drone. It will wipe out morning 
malaise if you kick it up on your screen, first 
shot each a.m. Then trundle on to the 
accounts receivable or whatever, with energy 
derived from a truly taxing simulation of the 
unfortunately real world. 

GATO is a truly taxing submarine simulation 
game for Apple and IBM PC computers. As 
commarjder of a "Gato "-class sub, circa 1943, 
you must master your vessel's realistic resources 
as well as ttie nuances of navigation and tactics 
to take your toll of ttie Japanese Imperial Fleet. 

The pilot's point of view . . . 


Bruce Artwick; IBM PC compatibles; 64K* IBM 
PCjr; 128K; one disk drive; color graphics adapter; 
S50; copy-protected? NO; Microsoft Corp., 10700 
Northup Way, Beltevue. WA 98004; 800/426-9400 
or, in WA, 206/028-8060. 


Sruce Artwick; Apple il family; 48K (64K 
recommended) • Atari; 48K • Commodore 64; 
joystick recommended; S50 (limited feature 
version on cassette lor Commodore; S39.95); 
copy-protected? YES; SubLOGIC Corp., 713 
Edgebrook Dr, Champaign, tL 61820; 

DICK FUGETT: As the only instrument-rated 
pilot on the premises, I was chosen to check 
out FUGHT SIMULATOR, but despite my 
ratings I wound up bending more aluminum 
(simulated) than any ten student pilots ever 
did . Being new to the IBM PC was part of the 
problem — success is based on keyboard 
skills as well as flying ability. But after a few 
sessions I could get in the air more often than 
into Lake Michigan. 1 discovered that hitting p 
(pause) freezes the action, letting me grab the 
manual and plan a proper response before 
returning to the drama. I'm quite sure that 
such a feature made standard on airplanes 
would be highly popular with pilots. 

A split screen shows an instrument panel 
below and a view out the cockpit window 
above. The cockpit view can be in any 
direction, a nice feature but considerably 
limited by poor screen resolution, Don't 
expect anything more than a vague 
resemblance to passing scenery. If you have a 
monochrome monitor, don't expect 
a/7yfrt/ng— color display is mandatory here. 

Of course, the most basic aspect of 
instrument flying is the "scan," that 
unnatural habit of continually shifting both the 
eyeballs and attention to cover all the 
instruments, Narrowing your focus to the 
artificial horizon and keeping the wings level 
is quite satisfying, but if you neglect air speed 
until you've passed rediine, as the wings peel 
off the fuselage in the last dive you^ll ever 
make, you'll be wishing youd scanned better. 

This program is by no means just a "game"; 
it could definitely aid in pilot training. From 
the navigational challenges of cross-country 
flight to IFR approaches, all with a choice of 
difficulty levels, there's plenty of juice here. 
Call it a S50 Link trainer and capitalize on the 
learning potential available. 

(by the same author) on the Apple, and was 
pleased by the same things Fugett liked, but 
as someone who is not flight rated, for 

Here, In ttie Appie version from SubLOGIC, you'll 
soon be worrying about how to land this thing. 

instruments or anything else, it took me an 
intolerably long time to figure out what in hell 
to do. Still, the program's obviously a super 
value, as its huge popularity indicates. 



The Seven Cities Of Gold 

Be £KP€&i7 ion iS on tan^. 



Ninety-nine men set out, with four weel(s worttt of 
food, to explore this hunk ot Hew World here and 
villages to the southwest. When they get to the 
villages, they will have to use caution and savvy to 
deal with the residents^and then again, they 
might initiate a massacre. Ail to find those S£VEN 
CITIES OF GOLD. The liest way to learn about 
Columbus is to be Columbus. 

Colonizing new worlds, past and future . . . 


Ozark Softscape Designs; Atari 40D, 800/XL series; 
48K • Cominoilare 64: joystick; color monitor; 
S22.95; copy-protectfid? YES; Etectronic Arts, 
2755 Campus Dr. , San IVIateo, CA 94403; 


Ozark Softscape Designs: App^e 11 family; 48K 
• IBM PC/PCjr; IZQK; 539.95 • Atari 400. 800. XL 
series; 46K • Commodore 64; 332.95; joystick 
(optionai on IBM); coior monitor; copy-protected? 
YES; Eiectronic Arts. 2755 Campus Dr., San 
Mateo, CA 94403; 415/571-7171. 

BRADLEY MCKEE: In M.U.L.E,. you and jp 
to ttiree other players choose the kind of alien 
you are [all very creative) and try to colonize a 
planet. The goal is to develop land and start 
your ov^n business, producing either food, 
energy, Smithore, or valuable Crystite. 
Trouble is, you have to buy stubborn 
M.U.L.E.s (Multiple Use Labor Elements, 
natch) and pul! them to your property to 
develop it. 

The planet's currency is dollars: you can get 
'em by gambling in the pub. buying or selling 
land, trading products in an auction (action- 
packed, as your opponents bid), and a few 
other things. Eactiturn, windfalls and 
calamities occur, appropriate to the 
interstellar-colonist scenario, This nnultiplayer 
game (playing it alone is a relative bore) is the 
first computer stab at the cutthroat, good- 

time madness of f^onopoly. and I think it's 
the best game since SPACE INVADERS, 

STEVEN LEVY: Ozark Softscape's sequel to 
GOLD, but it might better be called 
"Conquistador Simulation." This is the best 
blend of computer role playing, fun, and real 
history I've seen — its fascinating 
documentation contains a bibliography listing 
twelve history books. (Why isn't this review 
in the Learning section? Because J saw 
SEVEN CITIES first, and its ability to go either 
way shows that great software, thank God, 
makes taxonomies ridiculous.) Anyway, 
you're Columbus, Magellan, whoever, and 
you set off in your ships to explore the New 
World, or, if you like, an imaginary but 
realistically generated Western Hemispere, 
Cross the ocean (watch out tor storms), and 
get your first big rush when you spot land. A 
new world! 

The heart of the game is how you colonize — 
when you find a village on this uncharted 
continent or island, the screen picture 
changes from a map to a soldier representing 
your party. Natives surround you, and the 
way you behave (you control your party with 
intuitive joystick movements) determines 
their response — are these friendly folk who 
want to trade? Will movement set them to 
attack? The dynamic is only more absorbing 
because it's a consciously accurate 
replication of what the Spanish explorers 
really fettWke going in there. 

The same combination of fantasy and pulp- 
inspired action that George Lucas brought to his 
Star Wars trilogy is embodied in BALLBLAZER, 
conceived and well-executed by Lucas film 



Buzz-bfasting in force fields . . . 


Lucasfilm Games Division. Copy-protected. 
$2g-$39. Atari. Joystick required. Epyx, Inc., 
1043 Kfel Ct., Sunnyvale, CA 94089; 40B/745< 

STEVEN LEVY: What we have here is some 
sort of interstellar two-player soccer, played 
at a high speed and higher adrenaline 
output. Best way to do it is against a 
friend— strategy gets psychological, and 
someone else is there to acknowledge your 
best tricks. In absence of that, the computer 
provides ample competition, from sluggish 
Droid One to just-about-unbeatable Droid 

1 earned my stripes against Droid One, who 
was a tough opponent until I learned the 
intuitive movements necessary to master the 
skills of "dribbling" with a force-field, 
discerning when a "roto-snap" turned me 
toward my goal, and most important of all, 
monitoring both my point of view (on the top 
of the colorful split-screen display) and that 
of my nemesis (on the bottom half of the 
screen). Using the regulation three-minute 
game, I occasionally had to stop to wipe the 
sweat off my joystick. Beginning with Droid 
Three, I couldn't afford to take my hand off 

the stick for a second — that bugger would 
steal the ball from me and be racing down 
the scrolling field towards my goal like one 
of those Scyllica venom hunters described in 
the rather offbeat documentation. 

Speaking of which. I must say that the 
instruction booklet, every bit as cleverly 
written as any you might find, did not 
neglect to give copious tips on the very 
things that concerned me as I tried to move 
up a notch or two in skill— things like pulling 
off angle shots, "buzz-blasting" the ball 
from my opponent, and, most satisfying of 
all, pulling back when the goal is in sight in 
order to shoot a long-range goal good for 
three points (like the three-point shot in 

Something that the Lucasfilm people have 
worked out with BALLBLAZER is not 
available in this implementation, but worth 
mentioning. Using a system that averages 
the inputs from as many as forty joysticks, 
the game can be played by large numbers of 
warriors. As many of us learned during a 
long session at the Hackers' Conference (see 
photo on p. 29), teamwork was essential. 
When I got the game home, though, it was 
strictly in-your-face (or in this instance, in- 
your-Rotofoil) pyrotechnics, and just as 
much fun. 


The classic helicopter hostage rescue . . . 


Dan Gorlin; Apple II family; 48K • Atari: 48K 
• Commodore 64; cartridge or disk; joystick 
required; S34.95 (disk versiOf^); S45 (Atari 
cartridge); S39.95 (Commodore 64 cartridge); 
copyprotected? YES; Broderbund Software, lnc<, 
17 Paul Dr.. San Ralael. CA 94903; 415/479-1170. 

STEVEN LEVY: The rarest o1 computer-game 
creatures — an action -packed hand/eye 
coordination extravaganza witti a plot 
organically tied to the process of play. The 
seductive demo mode tells the story: you 
command a helicopter crossing enemy 
borders to rescue hostages. Obviously you 
have to land to pick up the little fellows, who 
plaintively wave to you as you hover above 
them; just as obviously you have to avoid or 
shoot down the assortment of tanks, jet 
fighters, and killer satellites defending enemy 

Since you gam points only for hostages 
saved, your priorities are clear— lose as few 
hostages as possible. Don't engage in 
bioodlust, Just get those innocent people out 
of there! True, there is no "negotiation mode" 
to obviate the need for violence , but 
CHOPLIFER! provides a much less vile 
scenario than 90 percent of its competitors 

Although CHOPLIFTER! is hard to beat, it is 
simple to learn. Your first "sortie" across the 
border ts easy, with subsequent ones growing 
progressively harder. The graphics are sharp 
and full of neat detail (though I'm not sure 
why the ground is pink). I've heard 
complaints that this hugely popular game is 
not much of a challenge to the extremely 
skilled arcader, and it /s austere compared 
with some pyrotechnic wonders. But because 
the game constantly reinforces the life-saving 
role you're placed in, it's never boring. 

The rescuing helicopter in CHOPUFTER! must no! 
only take out that tank, but make sure your bombs 
or its rockets don 't kit! one of ttjose cute It'i 
hostages. The burning fire in front of the barracks 
is indicative of the mind blowing detail in this 
Broderbund classic. 

An addicting, quiet massacre . . , 


Jay Sullivan; Apple II family: 48K • Atari: 4dK • 
Commodore 64 • IBM PC compatibles: 64K • IBM 
PCjr • VIC 2D; S29.95: copy-protected? YES; 
Sierra On-Line, Inc., PO. Box 485, Coarsegold. CA 
93614: 209683-6858. 

STEVEN LEVY: The archetypal author of a 
shoot-'em-up computer game is a wild-eyed 
eighteen-year-old who machine-guns lines of 
code like some kamikaze bomber 
CROSSFIRE was written by a quiet, 
contemplative man in his forties, and it 
shows. What makes CROSSFIRE different is 
its seductive ability to immerse you in 
concentration, without the loud explosions or 
screaming sound effects that a more callow 
programmer might have inserted. Indeed, 
this is the quietest massacre you will ever 
indulge in. 

As the defender of an abandoned city 
consisting of a gridlike layout of streets, you 
must be on the lookout from all four 
directions for aliens who can kill you by 
shooting little pellets or running into you. You 
must also move around the grid yourself, to 
avoid those aliens and get more bullets. Like 
some people 1 know, you might be tempted to 
splurge in long CROSSFIRE sessions How 
these people do it, I don't know— the game is 
hard, and I'd estimate at least an hour's work 
at It was needed before you could last even s 
minute in the subtle yet deadly alien attack. 
But some folks get hooked and make 
CROSSFIRE a hobby. 

CROSSFIRE doesn 7 look like much ? Try moving 
around the guy on the bottom row — while those 
other guys are coming at you from ail four 



B □ H n D*"""* 

5d n ncD D D 


Faster than PAC-MAN . . . 


Ttiomas MitctieJI: Apple II family: 48K: S29.95 • 
Atari: 48K • Commodore 64: $1 9.95 • IBM PC 
compatibles: 64K • IBM PCir; S29.95 (S34.95 for 
cartridge); copy-protected? YES; Sierra On-Line, 
Inc.. PO. QoK 485, Coarsegold. CA 93614: 
209 683-6858. 

WELL IS a highly addictive game combining 
PAC-MAN action with the features of an 
automatically retractable vacuum cleaner 

cord Obiect to slice out an underground 
maze with this Roto-Rooter-type device 
without letting the odd creatures who inhabit 
the maze drive over you, Only way to avoid 
them IS to retract like a strand of spaghetti 
eaten by an unmannerly person (you do this 
by pressing the joystick button). Eight mazes, 
each tougher than the one before. You need 
joystick dexterity and nerves of steel. 

Ttje pipeline is far down in this OIL 'S WELL game, 
but if the player doesn 't watch it, that blue "oozie " 
on the ttiird row down will hit the pipe and ruin 
everything. Solution? Press that joystick button, 
and fastf 


moves things around and gets things done hy 
joystick. Mouse- nice. After you build a pinbaif 
machine like the one on the left, you can exercise 
more power by changing gravity Use it, as we re 
about to do here. 

A universe of bumpers, flippers, 
and rollovers . , . 


Bill Budge: Apple M family • ISM PC compatibles; 
PCjr; 64K; $34.95 • Macintosh: S39.95 • Atari 
40O.8OD XL series; 48K • Commodore 64; S22.95; 
joystick (optional on IBM); color mortitor; copy- 
protected? YES; Electronic Arts, 2755 Campus Dr., 
San Mateo. CA 94403: 415/571-7171. 

STEVEN LEVY: I've asked a lot of people who 
are crazy about computers just why it is they 
are so crazy about computers. They will hem 
and they will haw, but eventually it gets down 
to this: A computer makes you God. The only 
catch is that you have to learn to program 
before you can take command of the 
universe, and it takes more than seven days 
to learn to program. 

God in a few minutes. True, your universe is 
restricted to making pinball machines. But 
there is much to learn about pinball 

machines. There are series of targets to 
connect for creating bonuses. There are 
decoration schemes to consider, There are 
tactical variations that make subtle 
differences in play. You find this out as you 
build a pinball machine, try it out, debug it, 
make changes, and i/nprove it. This trial-and- 
error process is something you might want to 
apply later on, when you learn programming 
or anything else. 

The method by which you build your machine 
is ridiculously simple — a little "hand" icon, 
controlled by your joystick, pulls bumpers, 
flippers, and targets to the pinball field, By 
pointing to other icons like a paintbrush, a 
screwdriver or a little globe, you can add 
decorations, change the scoring or sound, 
create new shapes, and actually play your 
game. Since you are God in this universe, you 
can even change the pull of gravity to make 
the ball drop faster. 

Everything works, (Well, sometimes a ball 
will go through a flipper— but who said Bill 
Budge was God?) Electronic Arts supplies a 
clear and detailed manual. If you hate pinball 
machines, you might not like this game. But, 
then, this program might make you like 
pinball machines for the first time. 

Your ace, on ttie left, must now choose between 
bombing ttie boat (too fate for that, probably), 
going after the plane on the right, or bombing that 
factory. I'd go for ttie plane and WO points. 

The definitive WW-I ace game . . . 


Bob Polin: Atari 400 800 XL series • Commodore 
64; joystick: color recommended; S34.95; copy- 
protected? YES; Synapse Software, 5221 Central 
Ave.. Suite 200, Richmond, CA 94804; 

STEVEN LEVY; During the time I was working 
at the Wliole Eartti Software Catalog 
headquarters puttingtogether this section, I 
was surrounded by hundreds of games for 
various computers. The game I played for 
pleasure during that time was BLUE MAX on 
the Atari. One afternoon Stewart Brand and I 
spent three hours taking turns at the throttle 
ot a World War I biplane, shown onscreen 
from an overhead view with some 3-D 
perspective (provided by a shadow 
underneath that gets closer as you get lower). 
We could have gone longer 

There's a lot going on in this bombing 
game — much more than in its apparent 
inspirations, the ultimately boring space 

Roger is a fifty-year-old businessman who 
seeks out video games to achieve the state 
of mind tfiat he gets into wfien he slds. He 
plays a game until that point where "tfie 
strategies are part of you. " where he feels 
like an extension of the game or the game is 
an extension of him. Roger compares the 
feeling to being in touch with an 

shootout ZAXXON (movement and 
perspective similar) and the repetitive dive- 
bombing orgy of RIVER RAID. Besides 
bombing bridges and factories (worried about 
the theoretical people inside? Don't buy this 
game. And don't pay your taxes), you have to 
monitor your fuel, altitude, and damage level; 
watch out for enemy pfanes and try to shoot 
them down; avoid anti-aircraft fire; stay alert 
for and bomb "primary targets"; find friendly 
airfields to land on (not easy!), refuel, and get 

BLUE MAX is the type of game you master 
incrementally. Tfiere's so much happening in 
your foray into enemy territory that a perfectly 
simple error usually trips you up — the kind of 
error that makes you say "I can avoid that 
next time," thus ensuring a next time even if 
it's dinner time. 

Blessedly, when you opt for replay. BLUE 
MAX does not force you to endure a drawn- 
out starting segment with anim^ated titles and 
peppy theme music, Push the start button 
and you're off again. 

unconscious self "When f play the games I 
don 't think. My fingers think. . . . They say 
it 's mindless, but for me it 's liberating. I am 
in control of the game, but my mind is free. 
The way I see it, I m not wasting my 
quarters. It's cheaper than psychoanalysis. " 
—Sherry Turkie. The Second Self, 
Computers and the Human Spirit 


Freeing the butterflies on 16 levels . . . 


Peter Liepa & Chris Gray; Atari; 32K • Commodore 
64 « IBM PC and PCjr; joystick required; S29.95 
(disk), S39.95 (cartridge); copy-protacted? YES; 
First Star Software, Inc., 18 East 41st Street, New 
Yorl(, NY 10017; 800,223-1545 or, in NY, 

SAM HILT: As Rockford. the subterranean 
hero of BOULDER DASH, you dig your way 
down through the dirt and rocks to the place 
where butterflies are trapped beneath a wall of 
boulders. When you finally find the way to 
release them (without killing yourself in the 
process), you must lure them back to the 
surface into the bubbling green slime. where 
they explode on contact and turn into jewels. 
These you must gather quickly in sufficient 
quantities to move on to the next level before 
your time has elapsed. 

Thai's only one of sixteen scenarios, each so 
different from the others that the word "level" 
is insufficient to describe them. The 
documentation calls them "caves. ' Each one 
has its own logic and design, and each 
demands a unique solution to the basic 
challenge of acquiring gems before your time 
runs out. Game elements such as boulders, 
butterflies, amoebas, and explosions recur in 
various combinations, but the relationships 

Finally— a game you can chant to . . . 


Jarron Lanier; Commodore 64; joystick, color; 
$19.95; copy-protected? NQ; Creative Software, 
960 Hamilton Ct., Sunnyvale, CA 940S9; 
800/331-7990 or, in CA, 8QD/443-10Q1. 

ART KLEINER: If this were Still the 
psychedelic era. every game would be like 
MOOMDUST. The points you score are 
somehow less important than the patterns 
and (especially) the music produced by the 
way you play the game. With the joystick, you 
manipulate a little white "spacewalker" with a 
bobbling head. His movement in turn affects, 
in obscure ways, the flight paths of six 
colored spaceships, By pressing the joystick 
button, you drop a little square colored 
"seed" on the playing field; then you try like 
hell to influence the spaceships to spread the 
seed's progeny the "moondust." out across 
a shifting, mandala-ish target. The process 
feels like finger painting with somebody else's 
fingers. If you inadvertently bump your ship 
into your spaceman, you get knocked out and 
have to start over. My only complaint: the 
individual games end too soon, Restarting 
disturbs MOONDUST's hypnotic wavelike 
effect. Unlike other games, MOONDUST 
doesn't engage your adrenaline: it engages 
the part of your psyche that seeks to feel at 

among them change constantly and keep you 
guessing. Solutions may require speed and 
agility, careful observation of the movement 
patterns of fireflies, or deliberate plans for 
luring butterflies to their doom under an 
avalanche of boulders (BOULDER DASH is a 
disaster for lepidopterists), After an evening 
of play, you'll find yourself getting out of bed 
to try that one final strategy that occurred to 
you just before you drifted oft to sleep. 

Rock ford has just released those butterflies 
(making ifieir way up the left side of the screen 
toward the butibfing green slime above them} by 
tunneling under the boulders that were restricting 
their movement. He's trying to complete this 
BOULDER DASH maneuver without getting made 
into a pancake in the process. 

150 craaa^zzzy screens . . . 


Doug Smitti; Apple II family; 48K • Atari; 48K • 
Commodore 64 (disk or cartridge); ioysticic 
(optional on Commodore) • JBM PC compatibles; 
64K; color grapfiics card; S34.95 (S39.95 for 
Commodore 64 cartridge) • Macintosf): S39.95; 
copy-protected? YES: Broderbjnd Software, Inc., 
17 Paul Drive, San Rafael, CA 94903; 

STEVEN LEVY: I'm crazy about LODE 
RUNNER. It's a game I could play from the 
first five minutes and still have a great time 
with after wearing the disk to a frazzle by 
overuse. It's a "climbing" game, with its 
ladders, ropes, and leaps, but some of the 
maneuvers you need to make your stick- 
figurey little man advance to the next of LODE 
RUNNER'S 150 (you read it right — one 
hundred and fifty) screens actually require 
. . . brace yourself . , , thought. So, in a 
sense, each screen is a puzzle thai you must 
solve on the run. Literally on the run, because 
while your guy is dashing about digging holes 
with his laser drill, collecting treasures, and 
dropping from the ceiling, with the computer 
making weird beee-yooooo sounds, a cadre 
of enemy stick figures in constant Keystone 
Kop mode are in hot pursuit. If they catch 
you, you've had it. You can drill holes in the 
floor for them to fall into and eventually get 
buried in, but more figures will drop from the 
sky to replace them. There's hardly a 
moment's peace here. 

Some of the screens are tough to solve. 
Others you can solve mentally but often screw 
up on execution. Playing sequentially there is 
no way in hell I am going to see the 60th 
screen, let alone the 150th. (It takes me 20 
minutes just to get to Screen 9.) But the game 
accommodates that complaint. For the weak 
of resolve and reflex, one command advances 
the level, another gives you as many men as 

Our LODE RUNNER surrogate is outlined in white, 
in virtual flight from those other fellows. He 11 
have to climb ail over to get the little bundles of 
gold, then climb on to the next screen. There are 
150 screens, and if you get bored with those, 
design your own. 

you want. Using these commands is surely a 
victimless crime, and they make LODE 
RUNNER constantly fresh and interesting; 
there's always a screen you won't have seen 

1 also have only scratched the surface of the 
(Apple II family • Commodore 64; $34,95). 
As the name implies, this version is for 
people with diplomas in solving the puzzles 
in its predecessor. Though there are only(!) 
50 screens, some are so tough that you 
might consider buying the optional hint book 
(sold for £5). Otherwise you might wind up 
on the doorstep of the Broderbund company, 
begging for hints to solve Screen 36. 


Sports and 
Noncomputer Games 

Slam-dunkin ' realism, 
• playground pyrotechnics . . . 


Bird. Erving and Hammond; Apple II family; 48K • 
IBM PC compatibles; 64K; S39.95 • Atari 400. 800 
XL series; 48K • Commodore 64: S32.95; joystick; 
color monitor: copy-protected? YES; Electronic 
Arts, 2755 Campus Dr., San Mateo, CA 94403; 
800/448-8822 or, in CA, 415/571-7171. 

Dr. y aftrf Isrry Bird go up for a ONEOH-QHE 

rebound. Looks like J's got this one, but generally. 
Bird (on the left) will outrebound him. just like in 
real lite. On the other hand, fs faster inside. 
Those ''fatigue " lines in the foreground show that 
both have worked up a good sweat here and should 
call a time-out to rejuvenate. 

A ptayer takes a dive in the spectacular SUf^MER 
GAMES program. Between the time he leaves the 
board and hits the water, you can use your 
joystick to create body pyrotechnics that would 
impress even Greg Louganis. 

STEVEN LEVY: My friend Basketball Joe is 
Sixers all the way and computers none of the 
way, "Come over" I said, 'DoctorJ'sina 
computer game." Say whaf? He came over, I 
booted, and the graphics were so good t 
didn't have to hem and haw and tell him the 
limits of the Apple. Sure, Doctor J and his 
opponent Larry Bird (white guy from Indiana, 
can play) look cartoony, but when they 
perform on the halfcourt, you can believe that 
they spent some days in the gym with the 
programmer making sure he got all the right 
moves, J in particular "Wo!" said Basketball 

I had been playing an hour a day for about a 
week, getting good enough to take on the 
computer on the "varsity" level (second of 
four) and picky enough to be complaining 
about the only flaw in the otherwise intuitive 
joystick control (hit the button to shoot but hit 
the button quickly \o turn around — 
sometimes it doesn't work and you shoot 
when you don't want to). All in all, I was 
highly taken with Electronic Arts' conceptual 
leap: To do the best basketball game on a 

Gold medals, no injuries . . . 


Copy-protected. S39.95 (street $25). Commodore 
64; Atari 400. 800/1 2Q0/XL; Apple II family. 
Joystick required. Epyx, Inc., 1043 Kiel Ct., 
Sunnyvale, CA 94089; 408 745-0700. 

STEVEN LEVY: !t took me a while to 
approach SUMMER GAMES. I was sick of 
Olympiana. But consistent reports that this 
game was addictively wonderful kept 
reaching me. especially from the Silicon 
Valley offices of Byte and Popular 
Computing where this program seems to be 
an obsession among the editorialites. I found 
the hype justified, 

The format is much like a previous computer 
trailblazer, Microsoffs four-year-old 
OLYMPIC DECATHLON, in that you are tested 
in several events. But you see immediately 
how far software artistry has come in the 
opening screen of SLIMMER GAMES: unlike 
DECATHLON'S stick-figure man, you have a 
flesh-and-blood, full-color runner setting a 
torch ablaze in a full arena; a billowing cloud 
turns into a flock of doves. It sets the scene 
for the competition, in which up to eight 
players may choose to represent any of 18 
countries in the quest for gold. (After each 
event, the game plays the national anthem of 
the winner.) The events are the pole vault, 
diving, 100-meter run, 400-meter relay, 
gymnastics, freestyle swim relay, lOQ-meter 
swim, and skeet shooting. Complexity 
varies, but quality of graphics and animation 
are consistent. 

The best is the gymnastic competition. Using 
the joystick for control, you become a 
female competitor on a pommel horse. After 

computer you don't do a whole basketball 
game^you take it to an elemental level of 
one-on-one, in-yo'-face play: With real 
characteristics of the two best hoopsters 
around (the computer Bird rebounds and 
shoots from outside better; the Doc does sky 
ballet), ONE-ON-ONE is on a level by itself as 
far as computer sports games go. 

As one of maybe ten people in the country 
with a two-joystick Apple set-up (only in 
theory can you play two-player with stick and 
keyboard), I took on Basketball Joe, 
grudgingly accepting Bird (problem with the 
two-player game is. someone's got to be 
Bird). Joe hates computers so much he's 
usually awful at electronic games, but this 
time that madman beat me, I believe the 
reason is that he is a basketball player and I 
am not — the ultimate endorsement for ONE- 

STEWART BRAND: Levy is too modest to 
mention that he took on Electronic Arts" 
president Trip Hawkins in a semipublic bout of 
ONE-ON-ONE and beat him. 

a while, you will learn to twist, turn, and 
straighten up to — if you're good — a firm 
landing, The little set-step and the 
calamitous fall resulting from an overly risky 
or poorly planned jump are astoundingly 
reminiscent of the scene in Los Angeles 
when Mary Lou Retton pulled through. Then 
you hold your breath as the judges hold their 
cards. It's enough to cancel out ten of Mary 
Lou's Wheaties commercials. 

Rediscovering chess with the computer . . . 


Don & Kathe Sprackfen: Apple II family; 48K • 
Commodore 64 • IBM PC compatibles • IBM PCjr 
• Macintosti: S49.95; copy-protected? YES; 
Hayden Software Co,, Inc.. 600 Suffolk St., 
Lowell. MA 01854; 800 343-1218, or in Mass., 

PHILIP ELMER'DEWin: After I got the 
(Broderbund) SERPENTINE monkey off my 
back and before I got hooked on LODE 
RUNNER (p. 37). I spent a couple of weeks 
compulsively playing chess with SARGON 
the latest version of Hayden Software's 
perennial bestseller. 

I used to play a lot of chess with an old 
college chum. He married and moved to 
Paris. I inherited his chess books but dropped 
the game. Until I bought this program. It 
plays at ten levels, from five seconds to hours 
per move. Also includes chess prot]lems and 
famous games from the past. It put me right 
back into that barbaric place, acting out a 
collective fantasy left intact from the 
fourteenth century. 




With a twist, SARGON lets you open up its 
head and peek at its systematic move 
generator as it tries every possible move at 
the rate of several dozen per second. 
Uncanny. Disturbing. Gruesome, 

And ultimately it's a real spoiler, 'cause you 
soon discover that you can get the computer 
to suggest your best move. It it's better than 
what you had in mind, it's darned hard to 
ignore, Let that happen a few times and yoj 
find yourself watching a machine play with 
itself in an orgy of digital masturbation. 


One other thing: My wife didn't say anything 
at the time, but while I was hooked on 
SARGON, she seemed to warm up to my 
Apple— or at least she seemed a bit less cool . 
When I switched back to LODE RUNNER, we 
were back to square one. Apparently the 
chess game had the same effect on her that a 
pipe and tweed jacket have on some 
impressionable coeds. 

Oh, yes. I did manage to beat that dumb 
computer a couple of times. The program's a 
sucker for a double pin. 

Word maniac's delight . . , 


Apple II family; 48K; S39.95 • IBM PC 
compatibles; 64K; $39.95 • TR$-80 Model III; 48K; 
$34.95; copy-protected? YES; Ritam Corporation, 
RO. Box 921, Fairfield, lA 52556; 515/472-8262. 

DOUG GARR: One of my favorite Apple 
programs is MONTY PLAYS SCRABBLE, the 
computer version of the popular board game 
by Selchow & Righter. One reason I like it so 
much is because it is absolutely playable 
without the (oh, do I hate this word) 
documentation. I've watched kids who are far 
too impatient to read directions spend hours 
at it. They love the fact that they can cheat. If 
you insist a word is a word, there is nothing 
the computer can do about it. 

You can challenge, but only with a hard-copy 
dictionary and an arbitrator. I have been 
challenged many times by MONTY: His image 
appears on screen; he looks left and right, 
almost embarrassed to bring up this nasty 
matter, and suggests that we "check that 
word." His suspicions have always been 
confirmed. I've never successfully challenged 
MONTY, though he supposedly bluffs. 

MONTY will play up to three people, and he 
keeps score, quite honestly, for everyone. 
The screen display is comprehensive— the 
board, a tile-point count, and the player's 
letters on a rack with "rearrange^' mode. 

It's real Scrabble, and you don't have to swirl 
the tiles around after every turn. 

Strategy and a quick-reflex 
basebail simulation . . . 


Charles Merrow & Jack Avery; Apple II family; 48K 

• Apple III • Atari (all machines); 40K with BASIC 
cartridge • Cornmodore 64; 539.95; copy- 
protected? YES; Strategic Simulations, Inc., 883 
Stierlin Rd. BIdg. A-200, Mountain View, CA 
94043; 415/964-1353. 


Apple II family; $31.95 • Atari; $29.95 

• Commodore 64; 529,95; joystick • Macintosh; 
S34.95; copy-protected? YES; Gamsstar. Inc.. 
1302 State St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101; 

STEVEN LEVY: I always figured that one of 
the easier translations of games to computers 
would be one of those replay-the-major- 
leagues-in-your-own-home systems that I 
played as a kid. Sure enough, in COMPUTER 
BASEBALL, the dice and stacks of charts are 
all on a single floppy disk, a much more 
pleasurable way to handle things. The 
graphics aren't much, but I'm happier 
knowing that the disk space is instead used 
for strategy features like hit-and-run, 
warming up a relief pitcher, and even the 
occasional ejection of a player by the 
connputer umpire. 

Like its pre-micfochip predecessors, 
COMPUTER BASEBALL takes into account 
each ballplayer's batting stats, speed, earned 
run average, fielding prowess, and other 
data, so you can be sure when Mike Schmidt 
comes to bat you've got a good chance to go 
downtown (unless he's facing Juan 
Marichal— one of the infinite possibilities 
here). You can "manage" any of 26 World 
Series teams, order a disk of last season's 
real-life teams, or even construct your own, 
using the formula provided inside. 
COMPUTER BASEBALL works just as well in 
either one- or two-player variations (the 
computer is a fairly good manager), and I had 
enough strategy decisions (put the infield in? 
pitch around that slugger?} to keep me 
interested in all but the most absurd 

It's a much harder task to replicate the action 
of baseball than to merge strategy with actual 
game play. The best of the many games 
attempting this is STAR LEAGUE BASEBALL. 
The first time I booted it, I got the same 
delight 1 feel when first peering at the 
deliciously green infield of a major league 
stadium. The graphic representation is thai 
good . as is the music that plays the national 
anthem and a catchy original number between 
innings. I think STAR LEAGUE is best as a 
two-player game — the computer simply 
doesn't make many mistakes, and I do, 
especially when fielding. The sparse manual 
promises that "throwing from base to base 
will soon be second nature to you," one of 
the biggest lies of the twentieth century. 

in this replay of the 1980 World Series, the Phillies 
had second and third, one out, in the third inning 
of a scoreless battle. The COMPUTER BASEBALL 
manager "Casey" decided to walk Bake Mc Bride 
and pitch to (gulp) Mike Schmidt (the reai-lite 
MVP in ttiat series). Hotice that ttie first and third 
basemen are playing "in" to cut off the run at the 
plate, while the shortstop and second baseman 
are deep enough tor a passible doutjte play. Did 
the strategy work? Yep— Schmidt bounced to short 
and started a DP. 

perpetually packed with noisemaking fans as the 
pitcher tries to hurl the ball past you. It'll take you 
a while to develop your rellsxes to the point where 
you can hit it. 

Score after my first game: Computer 73, Levy 
1 But I stuck with it, and eventually I could 
make it competitive, inning by inning if not for 
a whole game. 

The graphics and frills make this one 
worthwhile, but STAR LEAGUE BASEBALLS 
right fielder will consistently throw runners 
out at first on line drives over the infield— a 
faux pas that COMPUTER BASEBALL would 
never commit. 


Down and dirty . . . 


Rick Koenig & Connie Goldman. Copy-protected. 
$32,95 (street S25). Commodore 64. Joystick 
required. Electronic Arts, 2755 Campus Drive, 
San Mateo, CA 94403; 415/571-7171. 


FAYE ZUCKERMAN; About half of this two- 
pfayer smash-'em-up racing game centers 
on true down-and-dirty car racing. The pace 
is blazing and, depending on how you set 
things up, you get hair-raising jumps, ice- 
slick pavement, narrow racetrack sections, 
and the ability to thwart your opponent 
(human or computer) with intense 
smashing, crashing, taiigating, and even 
mine-laying. Fast-paced arcade stuff. 

You see a split-screen aerial view of the 
playing field and can track each car's 
movement along the treacherous racecourse. 
The joystick control mimics a slot-racing 
controller. But control only begins there: You 
can wind down or crank up action by altering 
gravity — lowest gravity is the moon, one 
sixth of Earth's, and highest is Jupiter, two 
and a half times Earth's. You choose any of 
fifty racetracks (including Monza, Indy. 
Riverside, Supercross, and my favorite, 
Variety)— or build your own, Same goes for 
cars: choose any of five cars, from Formula 
One to funky dirt bike, or build your own. 
Consider a destruction car with a 5000-cc 
engine, the ability to unload oil slicks, and a 
stockpile ot land mines. (Just remember 
where you planted the mines on earlier laps) 
All of this is nicely explained in a readable 
ten-page instructional, I'm certainly no 
racing aficionado, but I had no problem with 
this game — except stopping. 


mClNG OeSTRUCWN BETreaWy becomes fun 
when you build your own racecourse. That's its 
other, creative halt in a method simiiar to that 
used in PINBALL CONSTRUCTION SET (p. 36), you 
use the joystick to pull sections of traci( to a 
makeshift roadway board, insert and adjust jump 
height, modify track widths, and add tiazardous 
conditions — and make a mega-track with killer 
jumps, iced'down curves, and narrow, dirt- 
riddled sections. 

The first Adventure lives! . . . 


Don Woods & Will Crowttier: S CP'M • Apple 
CP M • DEC Rainbow • Epson QX-10 • Heath 
Zenith • IBM PC compatibles • IBM PCjr • Kaypro 
2, IV, 10 • MS-DOS compatibles • Osborfie • Xerox 
BZO; S19.95; copy-protected? YES; The Software 
Toolworks, 15233 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 1118. 
Sherman Oaks. CA, 91403: 818 986-4885 • IBM PC 
compatibles and PCjr: 64K; color adaptor: copy- 
protected? NO; S24.95; Norell Data Systems, P.O. 
Box 7Q127, 340Q Wilshire Blvd.. Los Angeles, CA 
90010; 81 8. 502 -11 03 • Also available on 
LIFE. ELIZA, and PONG); IBM PC and compatibles; 
PCjr; 64K • Apple II family; 64K • Commodore 64: 
529,95; copy-protected? YES: Software Country; 
270 N. Canon Dr., #1297, Beverly Hills, CA 90210; 
800 245-2057 or, in CA, 800 245-2056 • any 
computer with 3001200 baud modem on The 
Source at normal rates {see table, p. 140}. 

STEVEN LEVY: The first time is always 
magical, At least it is for me. It was, 
classically, on a mainframe computer, and 
when I saw the now just-about-immortal 
words, "You are standing at the end of a 
road ..." and typed my first command. GO 
EAST, I was hooked, At that time, the game 

Ihe first microcomputer epic . . . 


Roberta Williams; Apple II family: 48K: incluffes 
six disks; S100; copy-protected? YES; Sierra On- 
line, Inc.. PO. Box 485, Coarsegold. CA 93614; 


Ken & Roberta Williams. Copy-protected. S49.95 
(street S35). Apple He (128K)1lc; IBM PC and 
compatibles (12eK}. Sierra On-Line, PO. Box 485, 
Coarsegold. CA 93614; IBM PCjr version <S50) 
availabie Irom IBM, Entry Systems Division. RD. 
Box 1328, Boca Raton, FL 33432; 800 447-4700; 
Tandy 1000 version ($49.95} available from your 
local Radio Shack dealer. 

ROE ADAMS: TIME ZONE is the greatest 
adventure game ever written , Its breadth and 
scope are unsurpassed. We're talking about 
39 interlocking scenarios (each one as 
complex as a complete adventure), and 1500 
high-resolution "rooms." filling both sides of 
six disks. Each scenario takes place in a given 
place and time, and thousands of years of 
human history — past, present, and future — 
are spanned by this labyrinthine quest. 

TIME ZONE is for expert-level adventurers 
only. Sierra On-Line estimates that a skilled 
player will complete it in about a year. The 
biggest problem in cracking it is 
perspective — since the scenarios interlock, 
everything has to be done in the right order, 
as with a Chinese ball puzzle, where an 
erroneous move means failure is guaranteed 

was simply called ADVENTURE, because it 
had not yet become a genre. The act of using 
a computer was strange to me then, but 
ADVENTURE was not strange at a!!. By 
encouraging me deeper into the Colossal 
Cavern, by requiring me to light lamps, drive 
away snakes, avoid murderous dwarves, and 
get past the troll . ADVENTURE in essence 
invited me into the computer itself. The 
further I got, the more I felt I was master of 
the keyboard attached to the billions of bits in 
that DEC-20, And the frustrating puzzles were 
much like some of the dilemmas that awaited 
me in the world of computing. 

The consumer news is that the ORIGINAL 
ADVENTURE has lost none of its charm in 
microcomputer translation, even though its 
complexity and sophistication have been 
surpassed by some of its hundreds of 
children (a few of which we talk about on 
these pages). Knowing that this is the 
granddaddy of them all gives the concise yet 
unerringly significant descriptions of its more 
than 170 "rooms" almost biblical overtones. 

Playing adventure games without tackling this 
one is like being an English major who's 
never glanced at Shakespeare. 

(though you might not notice it for thousands 
of moves). In TIME ZONE, for instance, 
creating an anachronism — taking an object to 
a time period that preceded its actual 
invention — means you lose the object 
permanently. (You can take a hand mirror 
back to Cleopatra's time, but not a rifle.) 

I solve adventures for a living, but TIME ZONE 
was my greatest challenge. I started on a 
Monday and, working for 20 to 22 hours a 
day (my wife Nan put food in front of me 
every so often), I finished it in a week. My pile 
of maps was two Inches high. I was so taken 
with the game that I began Vault of Ages," a 
PUBLIC conference on The Source (see 
PUBLIC review on p. 141) specifically 
intended as a hint exchange for people 
tackling this epic among adventures. So far 
more than 9000 people have accessed the 

STEVEN LEVY: While TIME ZONE is Roberta 
Williams' masterpiece, her latest effort, 
KING'S QUEST, is not only easier to master 
but features a real advance — instead of 
typing in directions, you move the character 
(a knight named Sir Grahame) by joystick 
and watch him respond like an animated 
cartoon figure. The animation is especially 
effective when you move him into water and 
he instantly starts swimming. The "world" 
of this game is smaller than most and some 
of the puzzles are dippy, but the visual 
pyrotechnics make it worthwhile, especially 
for younger adventurers. And the PCjr 
version is one of the few games maximized 
for that machine. 


Adventuring in tlie public domain . . . 

Donald Brown; Apple II family; $10/disk; special 
two-sided flippy disk, $12; copy-protected? NO; 
Public Domain Software Copying Co., 33 Gold 
Street #13, New York, NY 10038; 212/732-2565. 

LYNN J. ALFORD: EAMON, a public domain 
fantasy, is an excellent role-playing system. 
Like many fantasy games, you give your 
name (or your favorite alias; mine is Lady 
Lynn) and the game will give you values for 
your charisma, hardiness, and agility. Then 
you're on your own. 

There is no winning and losing in EAMON 
(except for losing your life). Sometimes you 

have to accomplish some specific task to 
leave the adventure, but that is rare. EAMON 
has lots of treasure, loads of monsters, and 
even an occasional damsel in distress. Don't 
attack every monster you meet until you've 
tried making friends— you might need a 
friend to help you survive the adventure. 
EAMON itself is more friendly than many 
other games of its ilk, because if you give it a 
command it doesn't know, it will tell you the 
commands it does know— wonderful to 
someone who once spent fifteen minutes 
trying to tell another game to put a raft in the 

The EAMON system has a master disk, a 
dungeon-designer disk, and more than forty 
adventures, each with its own story, some 

quite different from the others. I've 
completed some in a few hours; others take 
as much as twenty hours. Maybe the 
toughness varies according to how mean the 
author felt that day. The dungeon-designer 
disk contains a complete set of instructions 
for the beginning adventurer and a program 
that allows you to examine other dungeons 
and create new dungeons of your own. 

I found EAMON in the library of the Carolina 
Apple club, copied it, and now make copies 
for friends. By doing this, I am following the 
instructions on the opening screen, which 
urges users to distribute this public domain 
program as freely as they wish. 

Roclcin' & rollin' adventure 

Pinsky, Hales & Mataga. Not copy-protected. 
$40-$45 (street $28-$31). IBM PC (128K); Apple II 
family; Macintosh; Commodore 64; Atari; 
Synapse and Broderbund, 17 Paul Dr., San 
Rafael, CA 94903; 415/479-1170. 

STEVEN LEVY: The opening scene of 
MINDWHEEL is positively mindblowing. 
There you are, thrust into the consciousness 
of a dead rock & roil singer, with a frenzied 
crowd about to engulf you— and you have to 
piece together information to solve the 
problem that might lead to world 

destruction. Okay, that's standard practice 
for adventure games, but this one is written 
by a celebrated poet, Robert Pinsky, who 
obviously had a great time concocting an 
outlandish sci-fi plot which, with the aid of 
the long-awaited Synapse parser, really 
draws you in. It's especially strong in 
encouraging interaction with the characters, 
who really are a vivid and varied lot. 

Now, as parsers go, there are problems. For 
instance, it often tells you to "PRESS ANY 
KEY" to get more text, and if you press a 
letter key (like an a or an s), it'll mess up 
your next input. And since the rules aren't 
clear on what the program recognizes and 

what it doesn't, you'll forever be coming up 
across cleverly worded messages which 
translate to "I DON'T UNDERSTAND." 

MINDWHEEL has an interesting copy- 
protection scheme, too. Before you start, 
it'll ask you to type a "password"— a certain 
word on a certain line on a certain page of 
the hardback-book documentation. So if you 
don't have the documentation, don't bother 
spinning the MINDWHEEL. If you do, you'll 
find there are exhilarating moments to be 
had in MINDWHEEL. 

mi iiOK OF iDWEMTUi 

Kim Schuette; 1984; 350 pp.; $19.95; Arrays, Inc./ 
The Book Division, 11223 So. Hindry Ave., Los 
Angeles, CA 90045; 800/421-3931 or, in CA, 

STEVEN LEVY: Some people think that ' 
there's something unsavory about seeking 
help in finishing adventure games. I don't. 
If you are trapped in a windowless room 
on the Planet Asparagus without a hint of 
your means to escape, and weeks of 
contemplation don't provide any solution, 
that $40 adventure game becomes less and 
less charming. You begin plotting vile 
revenge against its authors. What you need 
is a hint. 

The Book of Adventure Games gives hints 
for over 70 of the most popular programs 
and does it cheaper, and generally more 
wisely than the other "cheat books" which 
have preceded it. Best of all are the maps, 
included for each adventure. Saves a lot of 
stupid busywork. The maps are kept 
separate from the hard stuff— the solutions 

to the dilemmas. Only if you are miserably 
stuck should you go to the back of this book 
to see the hints, which are not as cryptic as 
the author implies, but are coldly effective. 
"Move Rock. Get Rock (Need Wagon), Lock 
Box and Get Key." Best to have someone 
read you the hint for your particular 
dilemma, so you won't see the solutions to 
other puzzles in the game— unfortunately on 
the same page. 

Not only adventure games here, but maps 
and hints for role-playing games, too. The 
WIZARDRY (p. 44) and ULTIMA (p. 45) stuff 
will be worth the price of the book for 
novices of those quests. And there's a 
discriminating buyer's guide to help you 
choose your next Infocom or Sierra or 
Penguin epic. (Besides solving games, 
author Kim Schuette rates them.) Schuette 
dedicates the book to his "computer 
widow," and I believe that appellation, since 
only a person chronically addicted to 
computer adventures could have written this 
valuable tome. Unfortunately for his 
"computer widow," a Volume II is 


i J. — I — r 

L_r T 1 1 T ,|| j^ III' 


(Level 1) 

Ql r I — , — , — r . 
I — Ih J £ — ' — I Jh(- 
t^ £ ' - "i H 1 

r I I I I . I I . 1 . J 

Id II 12 i:) 14 15 l(i 17 1« 19 

This map of LLYLGmYN would take hours to 
compile yourself, but since it's printed in THE 
yourself a lot of stupid busywork and get on with 




The classiest adventures around . 

Marc Blank and Dave Lebling; ZORK I; Atari & 
Commodore versions, $34.95; all other versions, 
$39.95. ZORK II; Atari & Commodore versions, 
$39.95; all other versions, $44.95. 

Steven Meretsky; Atari & Commodore versions, 
$34.95; all other versions, $39.95. 

Marc Blank; Atari & Commodore versions, 
$44.95; all other versions, $49.95. 


Dave Lebling; Atari & Commodore versions, 
$39.95; all other versions, $44.95. 


Douglas Adams and Steven Meretsky; Atari & 
Commodore versions, $34.95; all other versions, 

All copy-protected. Available for the Apple II 
family • Macintosh • Apricot • Atari • 
Commodore 64 • CP/M (8" disk) • DEC/Rainbow 
• Epson QX-10 • IBM PC/PCjr • Kaypro II • MS- 
DOS 2.0 machines • Tl 99/4A • Tl Professional • 
TRS-80 Model III; all 48K; Infocom, Inc., 125 
Cambridge Park Dr., Cambridge, MA 02140; 
800/262-6868; Commodore versions ($39.95) 
also available for all (with the exception of 
PLANETFALL and on the Commodore +4 only for 
HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE) from Commodore Business 
Machines, 1200 Wilson Dr., West Chester, PA 
19380; 215/431-9100; ZORK I ($39.95) for the 
TRS-80 Models III & 4 available at your local 
Radio Shack dealer. 

'.'ill raon, Mith exits wst and nopthwst, is filled Mithroliot'liktitwictj 
c:' every conceivaile description, all in various states of disisserOdy, 
I'l'i one robot, atout four feet Msh, looks even MMtela close to keinj ir. 

.irfiins order. ■ 

/txiMine the robot 

■JU ie-aotivated robot is leaniny against the mU, its head lollinj to th* 
side. It is short, and seew to be equipfed for seneral-jpuripose wrx. It 
hi; apparentl!) been, turned off . 

■)tui?n it'On ^'''^ • ■ '.^'■■'\:''' '■'"./■■■■■ ^•^V-^,; ' -^^ '•:-" - 
;No thing. happens. ; ^' ::'\-C]\"^ y': 

■:)«alt^^■^■■ ^^. /^-^■^^!,/ ,/;.• V -:-.■ ■'■^:::: .^/:^';'^^^-"' -..;■'•- • ^^\:^'<-,^k'. 
"line^ passes..; ' :■:■• '^^'. '^'V--^ -■>"■>:-■■,■''■ ;,., 

Suddenly/ the robot cows to lift aaj its teai starts snvfllirv alwt. It 
notices sou and bounds owp. 'Hi! I'm l-iW|¥ kt t« e«f isickm I' r ealled 

?Jcit SOU a«Minj thtWrlfit's pi»!l «« 

k magic moment in PLANETFALL: your nebbisliy 
character, after a couple hours of wandering 
around a deserted planet, finds a friend: a frisky 
robot named Floyd. The warm relationship you 
develop with this robotic fellow is indicative olthe 
depth of all the Infocom games. 

STEVEN LEVY: The Infocom company was 
started by people who saw the original 
ADVENTURE on an MIT computer and 
respectfully tried to top it with ZORK. Now 
solely microcomputer-based, Infocom is 
known as f/;e text-adventure company, and 
deservedly so. All its games accept full- 
sentence answers, and the prose is written by 
writers, or people who write like writers 
(same thing). Infocom seems to be aiming at 
a literate interactive fiction. Each of its 
products is top quality, with the most colorful 
documentation in the business, and each 
runs on a wide variety of machines. 

ROE ADAMS: ZORK II is my favorite, because 
the quality of the puzzles is superior. Anyone 
can make a puzzle too contorted to solve — 
these are puzzles that seem incredibly 
complicated but in retrospect, after you figure 
them out, seem ridiculously simple. Once I 
got stuck at two different places in the 
game— an impassable ice cavern and a 
dangerous dragon. Eventually I noticed that 
when I hit the dragon one time, he ignored 
me. If I hit him three times, he fried me to 
death. But if I hit him only twice in a row, he 
got mad and followed me into the next room. 
Since I know that the Infocom people do 
things for a reason, I asked myself, "Where 
would I have a dragon follow me?" To the ice 
cavern! Sure enough, when we got there, the 
dragon saw his reflection in the ice— you 
know how territorial dragons are— attacked, 
and melted the ice. The resulting flood 
drowned him and I'd solved both problems. 

RICHARD DALTON: Novice-to-intermediate- 
level PLANETFALL stars an inept junior officer 
in the Stellar Patrol who later gets an obtuse 
robot named Floyd as a sidekick— Floyd 
doesn't just show up; you have to find and 
activate him. This game is a good deal more 
human than the ZORKs, but since you wind 
up going through the same areas repetitively, 
the gags can get a bit stale. Balancing this, 
PLANETFALLs 600-word vocabulary allows 
you to give some fairly bizarre instructions 
and still escape the dreaded "I don't 
understand that word" response. Packaging 
coup: you get three postcards from the 
planets you visit to send your friends— for 
example, the one from Accardi-3 that cites 
"the exotic anatomical charms of the Gabrillic 
Hyphenated Woman." 

STEVEN LEVY: I'm lousy at reading detective 
novels; I invariably wind up peeking at the 
end to see whodunit. Both DEADLINE and 
SUSPECT are fine antidotes to that. Players 
have the same limitations and powers as real 
crime-solvers: armed with limited 
information and hampered by limited time, 
they must question suspects, confront them 

with evidence, and gradually strip off the 
layers of deceit and scandal until the real 
culprit is brought to justice. Despite the 
posh settings of these scenarios, you'll find 
both as steamy as Chinatown. In DEADLINE, 
at least, you're only the Detective— in 
SUSPECT you have the added incentive of 
being the prime candidate for Murder One. 
Other programs leave me sighing for powers 
the computer doesn't have. These two leave 
me dumbstruck at how much power the 
programmers have exploited. 

was co-written by real-life author Douglas 
Adams and Steven "PLANETFALL" 
Meretzky— a partnership that produces a 
funny, fascinating game. While the setting is 
familiar to fans of Adams' books, the 
solutions must be original, and the game is 
more challenging than the "Standard Level" 
designation might imply. Cause-and-effect is 
not as immediately obvious, and the game 
even liesXo you at one point. Be assured, 
Adams' skewed universe is internally 
consistent; it's just, well . . . skewed. 


STEVEN LEVY: No one in the world is better at 
solving adventure or role-playing games than 
Roe Adams. Companies hire him to play-test 
games, and on occasion he's embarrassed 
them by finding the solution to their months- 
in-creation double-disk monsters in as little 
as twenty minutes. Here's how he goes about 
starting an adventure. 

ROE ADAMS: Start with novice-level games. 
After you've solved four or five of those, 
you'll be ready for the intermediate and 
eventually the expert levels. 

You have to learn how to "balloon-map." This 
looks something like an organizational chart, 
with a circle for each place your character can 
go, and a line leading up to each place he 
could go from there. 

The first time through the game, don't do 
anything. Just go from each direction in each 
room and mark down what's there. Make sure 
you don't miss a direction. While it's 
tempting to try things out, hold back until 
you've mapped everything out. Then you can 
go back and open doors— probably with keys 
you know the location of already. 

Keep trying options, save the game on disk 
often, and exhaust all possibilities. Sooner or 
later, the solution will become clear. 


Bright graphics, punchy parser . . . 

Snell, Toler & Rea; Apple II family ® Atari 
® Commodore 64 ® IBM PC compatibles; $34.95 
® Macintosh; $39.95; copy-protected? YES; 
Penguin Software, 830 4tii Ave., P.O. Box 311, 
Geneva, IL 60134; 312/232-1984. 

Antonio Antiochia. Copy-protected. Apple II 
family; IBM PC and compatibles/PCjr; Atari; 
Commodore 64; $34.95. Macintosh, $39.95. 
Penguin Software, 830 4th Ave., P.O. Box 311, 
Geneva, IL 60134; 312/232-1984. 

SHAY ADDAMS: Lots of adventures 
incorporate the word "quest" in their titles, 
but none can match the sprawling expanse of 
this "days of yore" scenario, which 
challenges you to track and slay an elusive 
dragon. You'll travel down vividly colored 
country lanes, discover ancient civilizations, 
combat lizard men, and ogle a scantily clad 
redhead while solving some clever puzzles. 

The twist in this game is that your character is 
accompanied throughout by a tight-lipped 
knight-in-arms named Gorn. He has a mind of 
his own, and sometimes you have to con- 
vince him to do things he's not inclined to do. 


I usually prefer Infocom's all-text adventures 
(p. 42) to the picture variety, but Penguin 
Software's atypically intelligent parser (the 
part of the program that interprets your 
typed-in commands) won me over. It accepts 
complete, even multiple, sentences— most 
graphic adventures are hampered by two- 
word parsers that force you to depend on 
actions like LOOK ROCK. The high-res 
graphics are equally impressive, some of the 
most detailed you'll see in such a game. 
(Apple lie owners with an extended 80- 
column card will be enthralled by a double 
hi-res version offering 560 X 192 resolution 
graphics.) Access time is brisk, so the 200 
various scenes (twice as many as in most 
similar games I've tried) are quickly splashed 
across the screen. 

Most unusual moment: when you encounter 
the aforementioned redhead, she drags Gorn 
into a back room. You see the door slam 
shut. After a while they reappear. No 
explanation offered. 

STEVEN LEVY: I agree about Penguin's 
excellent parser and graphics. My favorite 
Penguin is TRANSYLVANIA, kind of a horror 
story in which you're chased by goblins and 
werewolves. The Macintosh version is easiest 
to play, since it keeps your most recent 
commands in view and fills in the screen fast. 

fife FIf jjllf 

Capitalists from outer space . . . 

UlPlJo W* 

Bruce Webster and Wayne Holder. Version 2.0. 
Copy-protected. $39.95 (street $27). Apple II 
family. FTL Games, Inc., 7907 Ostrow St., Suite 
F, San Diego, CA 92111; 619/279-5711. 

STEVEN LEVY: Theme: an interplanetary 
adventure which requires the player to reach 
his or her quest by going into business. 
Fortunately, the game is not in the least 
oppressive about the process, and is utterly 
fascinating in creating a little world in and of 

SUNDOG is a role-playing game— one in 
which you create your own character—with 
a twist. It's totally controlled by joystick. For 
each choice you make, you open little 
windows— a la the Macintosh computer— 
which give you options for, for example, 
defining your character's attributes. And 
you'd better choose wisely, because as the 
inheritor of your uncle's aging trader 

spaceship you will be going from planet to 
planet in order to buy goods at auctions and 
sell them in some other galaxy at a profit. 
Winning the game requires paying off the 
debts you're saddled with in the beginning 
and vindicating the family name. It not only 
sounds like a movie, it plays like one. At all 
times, you actually see your character (or a 
dot that represents him) moving through the 
spaceship, or the towns he visits on various 
planets, or through space itself (navigated 
through cleverly conceived star-map 
windows). In one case, you leave the 
spaceship, guide your character through a 
town, enter a bar, and ask the bartender 
where someone can buy a gun. The barkeep 
directs you to a booth and while you're 
waiting, you see one of the customers drift 
over to the booth. Then the customer asks 
you what you might want to pay for this gun. 

SUNDOG is one of those hours-and-hours 
games that can make your nights late ones 
for weeks. 

While setting out on THE QUEST, you visit tlie 
King, who's enjoying comfort you won't 
experience for quite a while. Meanwhile, your 
companion, Gorn, hooks up with a hot redhead. 

I piloted my SUNDOG spaceship to the planet 
Glory I and wandered through its spaceport. 
Eventually I came to a bar that sold "food, drink, 
or information. " SUN DOG'S universe contains 
dozens of other planets; you'll need to visit many 
of them to fullill your quest and vindicate the 
family name. 

There is nothing mindless about mastering a 
video game. The games demand skills that 
are complex and differentiated. Some of 
them begin to constitute a socialization into 
the computer culture: you interact with a 
program, you learn how to learn what it can 
do, you get used to assimilating large 
amounts of information about structure and 
strategy by interacting with a dynamic screen 
display. And when one game is mastered, 
there is thinking about how to generalize 
strategies to other games. There is learning 
how to learn. 

— Sherry Turkic, The Secend 
Self, Computers and the Human Spirit 





Dungeons and Dragons 
brillianily realized . . 

The third and most advanced WIZARDRY scenario, 
the LEGACY OF LLYLGAMYN, featuring a window- 
ing, Lisa-like display. Here you see the options 
available to your party before encountering 
that fierce looking fellow with the sabre. 

What Do You Do When You're at Witt's End? 

Mike Nichols; 1984; 100 pp.; Apple version, $15; 
IBM or Macintosh version, $10; also maps, $5/ 
scenario; Nichols Services, 6901 Buckeye Way, 
Columbus, GA 31904; 404/323-9227; or 

STEVEN LEVY: Role-playing programs like 
WIZARDRY or ULTIMA are frlghtenlngly 
complicated, forcing hours of play before you 
develop a character strong or smart enough 
to advance to higher levels. The challenge is 
so tough that a cottage industry has 
developed to lend support. Most commonly 
the vendors in this "cheat" industry work out 
of their homes, selling maps, hint sheets, or 
floppy disks with programs to "resurrect" 
slain characters (or, much to the dismay of 
purists, creating new supercharacters without 
"earning" the powerful characteristics). I've 
used some of the programs to create 
characters, and though they work well I can't 
recommend them, because the power 
corrupts— it's not as much fun to build your 
character when you know you can create a 
more devastating one in five minutes. 

On the other hand, I found one service 
helpful and fascinating in its own right: 
Nichols' Services, which publishes aids for 
those lost in the worlds of WIZARDRY and 
ULTIMA. Mike Nichols' Wizisystem is a 
passionate rebuttal to the part of the 
WIZARDRY manual that states the less said 
about rules and parameters the better. 
Wizisystem says plenty: Nichols has 
pondered the lessons of his hundreds of 
hours within the dungeons of the Mad 
Overlord, and he offers himself as your 

Andrew Greenberg & Robert Woodhead; Apple II 
family ® Apple III; $50 ® IBM PC compatibles 
® IBM PCjr; 64K; $60; copy-protected? YES; Sir- 
Tech Software, Inc., 6 Main St., Ogdensburg, NY 
13669; 315/393-6633. 

Andrew Greenberg & Robert Woodhead; Apple II 
family ® Apple III; $34.95; copy-protected? YES; 
Sir-Tech Software, Inc., 6 Main St., Ogdensburg, 
NY 13669; 315/393-6633. 

Andrew Greenberg & Robert Woodhead; Apple II 
family ® Apple III; $39.95 copy-protected? YES; 
Sir-Tech Software, Inc., 6 Main St., Ogdensburg, 
NY 13669; 315/393-6633. 

guide in this opinionated, chatty, 100-plus 
page opus devoted to the three WIZARDRY 
scenarios. (For MS-DOS and Macintosh 
users, who so far are limited to the first 
scenario, Nichols publishes an abbreviated, 
slightly cheaper version.) It illuminates 
WIZARDRY without taking any of the fun 

The same can be said about his more 
recent ULTISYSTEM ($15; 83 pages), a 
compendium of strategy hints and maps for 
ULTIMA II and III. The most fanatic buffs will 
want to look at the occasionally published 
Wizinews newsletter ($10/yr; 4 issues) 
covering ULTIMA, WIZARDRY, and other 
fantasy thrillers as well. 

From Nichols's Wizisystem: 

Notes on Character Classes 

MAGE (minimum IQ 11, available to new 
characters). Mages are poor fighters but leam 
the spells that are most effective in combat. 
They are very limited as to equipment and can 
use only those magical items suited to their 
class and alignment. 

From Ultisystem: 

"Good planning is essential to a successful 
heist. The following deals specifically with 
the food caper, but it can be applied to other 
fiendish plots as well ... (1) the Guards are 
ever watchful and come running at the first 
hint of something fishy; (2) they can run 
almost twice as fast as you can unless you 
have a horse; (3) you have to be pretty 
strong to defeat them; and (4) they are 
stupid and won't remember you when you 
next enter their precinct." 

Sure, this trilogy is adolescent and gory and 
violent and weird. Just like the Iliad. It's also 
the most enduringly intelligent, even wry. 
Dungeons and Dragons-style role-playing 
game around, informed by a deep and sincere 
love of the fantastic. Like classic literature, 
the game has something to say about Good 
and Evil and the Meaning of Life— and since 
when have you booted a disk that addressed 
those human topics? 

The three distinct games of the trilogy share 
basic D&D play mechanics: Create a few 
characters, equip them, and then send them 
into a multilevel dungeon— there to find 
better weapons and armor, gold, and other 
treasures; do battle with monsters; and 
discover a magic solution to various dangers 
threatening the kingdom of Uylgamyn. 

All three games are linked: you create brand- 
new characters in PROVING GROUNDS; only 
survivors can go on to the quests in KNIGHT 
and LLYLGAMYN. The mechanics of creating 
and equipping characters are very simple, 
handled by clear menus. The core of the 
game is dungeon exploration: As your party 
moves around the maze, you see it as though 
you were inside it. Since you can rarely see 
more than a few steps ahead of the party, 
making maps is imperative (I usually do this 
on quadrille paper). Without a map you can 
get lost in only a few steps and are easy prey 
to monsters. While you're exploring, 
subsidiary menus at the side of the 3-D 
screen keep you posted on your progress. 
LLYLGAMYN, the most advanced of the 
trilogy, has a dazzling LISA-like windowing 
text-and-graphics display. 

The dungeons are //eno'/sWy designed: pits, 
traps, teleporting doors, and dark areas that 
make mapping incredibly hard; witty riddles 
and puzzles that appear as inscriptions on 
random walls or glowing in the air; odd 
statuary and furniture; enchanted swords and 
cursed rings; even entire individual 
structures, such as demon barracks and 
castles, tucked away in various corners. 
You're totally on your own in figuring out 
what any of it is for. Meanwhile, you've got to 
cope with more or less constant attacks from 
hundreds of varieties of marauding monsters. 
It's best to dip in a little way at first, try to 
grab some gold and not meet too many 
monsters; then dash up and rest before 
beginning again. 

Like Dune or Lord of the Rings, WIZARDRY 
is a completely imagined, self-contained 
world. Anybody who buys PROVING 
GROUNDS may be on the way to a lifelong 

PlAYmC 45 

Role-playing quest marked by 
challenge and whimsy . . . 

The dungeons of ULTIMA III are much more 
interesting than those of the ULTIMAs that 
preceded it, and III has better graphics too, 
but its main strength is that it is even tougher 
to crack. (That's saying a lot— I know an 
accountant who's been trying to solve 
ULTIMA II for two years.) Penetrate Ill's inner 
sanctum without the proper exotic weapons, 
and you are but smoldering ash before the 
great dragons. Pay too little attention to tidal 
forces, and you'll never find the disappearing 
city of Dawn. There are many ways to fail, and 
only one way to win and discover the awfu" 
secret of EXODUS. That's why ULTIMA 
players are so fanatic— they have to be in 
order to finish the damn games. But even 
those who never finish seem to come back for 
more when the next ULTIMA hits the streets. 

Richard "Lord British" Gariott; Apple II family; 48K 
® Atari (disk); 48K ® Commodore 64 (disk) ® IBM 
PC compatibles; 64K; \\m PCjr ® Macintosh; $60; 
color recommended; copy-protected? YES; Sierra 
On-line, Inc., RO. Box 485, Coarsegold, CA 
93614; 209/683-6858. 

STEVEN LEVY: I admit to long sessions with 
ULTIMA II. In contrast to WIZARDRY'S first- 
person perspective, here you get a bird's-eye 
view of the single character you create to do 
battle with evil Wizard Minax. But since 
dungeons are only a small part of your 
travels— you pass through towns, castles, 
seas, and outer space— the maplike graphics 
are just fine (though I would like to be able to 
turn off the shrill sounds, especially when 
monsters attack). Don't plan on finishing 
quickly, and count on lots of surprises and 
some tough challenges. This is second in a 
trilogy (ULTIMA I, the sluggish opener, is best 
left on the shelf) and as the following review 
implies, author Richard "Lord British" 
Garriott just gets better. 

Richard "Lord British" Garriott; Apple II family; 
48K; Mockingboard optional a Atari; 48K ® 
Commodore 64 » IBM PC compatibles; PCjr; 64K; 
color graphics card; $60; copy-protected? YES; 
Origin Systems, Inc., 340 Harvey Rd., 
Manchester, NH 03103; 603/644-3360. 

latest in Lord British's dense, almost rococo 
graphic fantasy adventures, expands on the 
considerable ULTIMA mythology While your 
opponents in the first two ULTIMAs were 
clearly defined, EXODUS remains a mystery 
until the very end. So much the better. As you 
begin forming your characters (a party of 
characters, a la WIZARDRY whereas previous 
ULTIMAs allowed you but a solitary gladiator), 
only one thing is certain: You're in for a long 

EXODUS: ULTIMA III is quite a challenge: 
Lord British can put you through hell for a 
single lousy clue. But don't worry: it will 
begin to make sense eventually— if your 
characters survive. The game comes with 
three separate manuals and an unfinished 
map of Sosario, the fantasy world. The sheer 
bulk of the information makes it difficult to 
remember, as the clock of battle ticks away, 
exactly which command sends, say, a potent 
ball of lightning down the throats of your 
enemy. Was it the incantation of Mittar, or one 
of the supplications from the Liturgy of Truth? 
Make notes in the player-reference card, so 
you don't have to thumb through the 
documentation's medieval-flavored prose 
while your intrepid band gets pounded by a 
gaggle of giants. 

ULTIMA III gives a colorful graphic display of 
your party, the surrounding geography, and the 
assortment of creatures that threaten your 
continued existence. Here you face off, a la the 
rumble scene in West Side Story, against a band of 
murderous Ores. 

A CP/M gem captured by modem 

IBM PC compatibles; $6/disk plus $4/orderfor 
shipping; copy-protected? NO; PC Software 
Interest Group, 1030 East Duane, Suite J, 
Sunnyvale, CA 94086; 408/730-9291 ® CP/M, 
MS-DOS versions; $10 per disk; Public Domain 
Software Copying Company, 33 Gold St., New 
York, NY 10038; 212/732-2565 ® Public domain: 
available on various CP/M BBS by telecomputing; 
runs on CP/M, requires no extra graphics. 

my Osborne I told friends and family I had but 
one purpose: mulching words. But in truth, I 
wanted to play games. Little did I know that 
CP/M would stand in the way of me and my 
secret desire. So few games! Nothing much 
stood between me and my wordsrnithing. 

Until I discovered telecomputing. Bulletin 
board systems (see Telecommunicating, pp. 
148-149) opened up the game-playing world 
I'd missed. They also introduced me to a 
whole new set of frustrations. I'd spend 45 
minutes downloading a massive game file, 
unsqueeze the damn thing, and load it, only 
to find that the version of BASIC in which it 
was written was incompatible with Ozzie's 

Hence my joy over WIZARD'S CASTLE. I 
located it on the Technical BBS in Dearborn, 
Michigan. Although my version was written 
for the Heath, it runs flawlessly on the 
Osborne I. In the months I've owned 
CASTLE, it has provided so many hours of 
intrigue that I'm embarrassed to give an exact 

In contrast with those in adventure games, 
CASTLE'S maze is coherent, a cube-shaped 
three-dimensional fortress. Each time you 
play, the castle is randomly stocked with 
several hundred monsters (twelve kinds, 
from kobold to ore to gargoyle), treasures 
(eight varieties, each with the power to ward 
off a different spell), vendors, warps, 
sinkholes, books, and chests (the latter two 
items to be opened at the player's peril). 
The goal of the game is, first, to locate the 
Runestaff— in the possession of an unknown 
beast, which unfortunately must be 
slaughtered before it will relinquish it— and 
then to use the Runestaff's power to teleport 
into the (also unknown) room that hides the 
mysterious Orb of Zot. Oh, yeah: You've also 
got to get out of the castle alive. 

Easier said than done. I won my first game 
after God knows how many attempts. It took 
me 1000 moves over three hours of playing 
time. The chief problem is the constantly 
shifting attributes of the player's character, 
which determine whether a player can attack a 
monster, cast a spell . . . indeed, stay alive. 
Slip below one point in any of the attributes, 
and be prepared to cross the Stygian gulf, my 
friends. In order to increase attribute points, 
gold must be found, treasures sold, and 
monsters— each of which guards a cache of 
some sort— slain. Additional points can be 
purchased from the sleazy vendors who infest 
the castle. 

CASTLE has one additional attraction: On 
Technical BBS, it was accompanied by a 
separate superb documentation file, a rarity 
for CP/M public domain games. CASTLE's 
rules explain everything without spoiling the 
excitement of the unknown. I keep coming 
back for more. And now I love my Osborne. 



Stewart Brand, Domain Editor 

STEWART BRAND: Said to account for more than 60% of 
personal computer use, word processing programs are doing to 
writing what pocket calculators did to figuring. Cue the 

JUSTIN KAPLAN (biographer): It's sexy, exhilarating, and 
addictive, as different from a typewriter as flying is from dog 
paddling. (From Boston Review) 

CHARLES SPEZZANO: A good word processing program can 
change your whole attitude toward writing, while pens and paper 
keep you stuck in your old compulsive habits. 

ANONYMOUS: Though not the first priority when businesses buy 
a computer, word processing becomes the justification for the 
whole system. (From Boardroom Reports and Hillei Segal's 

MARGE PIERCY (novelist and poet): If I had to give up writing on 
my computer, I would feel I had returned to scraping letters in 
cuneiform on clay tablets .... The writing itself is far more 
serious than on the typewriter. There is no punishment for 
revising and revising again .... Writing on the screen has a 
fluidity that makes compromise with what you envision silly. 
(From ioston Rewlew) 

RICHARD WANDERMAN: Word processing is wonderful, period. 
It's hard to separate out the wonders of word processing in 
general from the wonders of a good program. 

STEWART BRAND: That last one is our function here. General 
wonders first, specifics in a minute. There's a hidden greater 
advantage with writing on computers: you don't just write more 
fluidly, you connect more fluidly. With telecommunications 
(p. 138), text can flow into and out of your computer in torrents 
if you let it. The fact that you always have a copy of what you've 
written lurking on disk leads to all sorts of broadcast behavior, 
like sending mildly adapted copies of the same letter or article to 
many audiences instead of just one— either "personalized" 
informally by hand or in automated profusion with one of the 
"Merge" features. 

Spellers are a blessing. The typos you can't see because you 
made them and the misspellings you can't see because you think 
they're right are fish in a barrel for the implacable software 
dictionaries. One of my favorites, WORD PROOF (p. 62), will 
offer synonyms when you're stuck for a better word— and even 
insert it for you. More subtle are the style checkers like 
PUNCTUATION + STYLE (p. 62) that will flag your 
awkwardnesses and cliches and suggest an improved usage. 
Outline programs, like THINKTANK (p. 92) and FRAMEWORK 
(p. 110), can accelerate the organization of your thoughts. 

If there is a problem with writing programs, it is that we become 
too absorbed . . . 

ALFRED LEE: I really do believe I go into something like a trance. 
When my wife intrudes to ask my opinion about buying a lamp, I 
just can't handle the weight of her other world unless I get up 
and turn my back on the screen. 

ROBERT COWAN: I would not have been able to finish my 
750-page book in 5.5 months without my word processing 
hardware, but the quality "seems" lower I just can't put my 
finger on it. I know with my word processing I'm working 
"smarter, not harder" But what is it I have lost? What is it I have 
gained? The answer is right at the tip of my fingers ... Did I 
almost state it earlier? I can't remember ... The words have 
scrolled off the top of the screen and are being held deep within 
the crystal memory of a device I cannot understand. 

STEWART BRAND: Writing is so extremely personal that people 
become identified with their word processing program and will 
brook no objectivity about it. Most people are still using the first 
writing program they learned. It's the native language of their 
fingers and all their files have sworn allegiance to its format. 

STEVEN LEVY: I compare using a word processor to living with 
somebody. You go into it with all kinds of enthusiasms, and 
things are wonderful. Then, you see other word processors 
promising more. More features, friendlier style. The question is, 
is it worth tossing over a relationship in which you've invested 
months for a word-transpose toggle, an indexing function you'll 
use maybe twice, and a split-screen capability? A choice of a 
word processor is a major life-decision, and no one can afford 
(in terms of time, money, or emotional capital) to play the field. 

STEWART BRAND: The bad news is, there's some 300 word 
processing programs out there; the good news is, with that 
many competing ferociously, the best are pretty good. We've 
been winnowing for a year. As usual, winnowing is done in 
part with biases. We're biased against programs that make 
writing and editing take place in different "modes," because 
it's too easy to lose track of what mode you're in, do the 
wrong thing, and then have to backtrack— that eliminated 
SELECT and moved BANK STREET WRITER (p. 184) to 
Learning. We're biased against programs that make formatting 
(preparing for printing) be a big, separate deal— that eliminated 
(p. 59). We're biased toward "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" 
programs, where bold is bold on the screen, justified is 
justified, there's not a lot of command or format clutter, and 
page breaks are shown dramatically. 

We're biased against slowness in all its forms— that eliminated 
VALDOCS and THE LEADING EDGE (if you can destructively 
backspace or overtype faster than the machine, you're bound to 
lose stuff and have to replace it) as well as SAMNA III (stops and 
goes to disk for even petty errands) and IBM's PC WRITER and 
DISPLAYWRITE2 (laborious menu sequences for everything). All 
of the programs recommended here are fast. 


Our major criterion is that a program n/earwell. Tliat the 
constant stuff goes easy— starting up, going in and out of files, 
printing, moving blocks of text, deleting words and sentences, 
knowing where you are in the document, being reminded of a 
rarely used command. Popular programs like MULTIMATE and 
EASYWRITER II lost out by being just a bit less smooth or 
reliable or potent than the competition we're recommending. 

In a few cases now, good word processing capabilities are 
fuming up inside other programs. The most exemplary is the 
integrated program ENABLE (pp. 50 and 109). 

Though this section, like the others, has been updated with a 
fine-gauge sieve, there's few major changes from last year. I'd 
love to think that's just because our judgment held up so well. 
It did, but the stronger reason has to do with the market. 
Popular writing programs each become a virtual dialect of 
English; they hang on and on, adapting quickly or slowly to 
new machine capabilities, new popular features, new fads. We 
favor the ones that do that. A new version number every few 
months is a sign the makers are serious, and it means your 
writing program will continue to improve for years. (However, 
lots of version numbers at the beginning means the original 
release was infested with bugs, a sign the maker was careless 
or greedy.) 

Machines come and go. Good software lingers. The word 
processor market has settled down. You can shop with 

Hardware. So what do you look for in hardware for writing? 
Three things: longevity, feel, and power. Is the manufacturer 
going to be around next year? How does the keyboard feel to 
your typing fingers, how does the screen feel to your midnight 
eyes? Does your machine have plenty of memory and storage 
and machine speed, or can they be improved later? 

All the best word processors are in the IBM family. Macintosh 
after two years still hasn't challenged that (for good reason: it's 
a picture processor, words treated as pictures gain glamor but 
lose efficiency). But if feel outweighs power for you, and the 
Mac's high-resolution black-on-white screen and severely 
simple keyboard appeal to your bod, or you have use for 
wonderfully decorative writing, then get it. But get all the 
extras— 51 2K memory, second disk drive or hard disk, 
SWITCHER (p. 115), and anything else that adds oomph. 

The Kaypro and Morrow are great bargains, but the top 
CP/M-80 writing program, WORDSTAR, is pretty clumsy, 
though powerful. Word processors on the Apple He and lie like 
WORD JUGGLER and APPLEWORKS are newer and more 
adroit than anything on CP/M. On the Commodore 64 you get 
speed (SKIWRITER II) or power (OMNIWRITER), not both. 
That's why it's cheap. 

Suit your software to your hardware. HOMEWORD, a good 
program for the occasional writer, is wasted on an MS-DOS 
machine; you're better off with VOLKSWRITER DELUXE. 
Behemoth writing programs like WORDSTAR 2000 and 
MICROSOF WORD flourish better with hard disks and better 
still with the greater machine velocity of an IBM AT or clone, or 
add-on boards that supercharge the PC-equivalent machine. 

Telecommunicating. The use of word processing programs in 
conjunction with telecommunicating is bound to increase for 
the next few years, which will make the present situation worse 
(then hopefully better): most writing programs don't 
telecommunicate very well. It's awkward to "upload" files to 
the network, awkward to "download" to your word processor. 
Of the programs we recommend, only PC-WRITE and 
VOLKSWRITER DELUXE are gifted telecommunicators. The 
rest need fiddling. Charlie Spezzano did the research on this 
one. Here's what he found . . . 

On most programs the way to prepare a document for 
telecommunicating is "print to file"— the document is sent to 
disk as if it were being sent to the printer. This cleans it of 
formatting peculiarities but retains the line length you want. 
Then with your terminal program (CROSSTALK, MITE, 
SMARTCOM II, etc.) you upload that file to the network. 

Downloading a file is a different nuisance. Here you must strip 
the line ends of the carriage-return-and-line-feeds that come 
with the file, but without collapsing all the paragraph breaks. A 
way to do that is with the search-and-replace function. Have 
the program replace all the double-carriage-returns (the 
paragraph breaks) with *. Then replace all the single carriage 
retums with nothing. Then replace all those *s with double- 
carriage returns. Now your writing program has taken control 
of line length. 

uirdyyyij yiryi 


STEWART BRAND: Forgive the self-introduction. My perspective on the tools 
reviewed here is primarily that of an editor (16 years), secondarily a hack writer, 
thirdly an office- sharer. I don't have secretarial experience at all— the day-long 
dealing with other people's words in rigorously standard formats— and the 
section needs it. What is well represented is the experience of running small 
professional offices, thanks to psychiatrist Charles Spezzano who has spent 
more time than I, weeks to months often, immersed in each of the leading word 
processors, sifting and sifting toward this section. On an EIES teleconference 
(p. 147) a good forty voices have been debating fiercely about these programs 
for over two years, 1200 comments last I noticed, some of them reproduced 
here. The evaluating of word processors is an eternal debate; please join it. 

Sfewarf Brand 


So to telecommunicate files to and from your word processor 
you need either PC-WRITE or VOLKSWRITER DELUXE, or a 
program that can search-and-replace carriage-retums and can 
print to file, or a program that has its own telecommunicating 
TERMINUS), such as they are. They are so-so. 

Apparently automatic reformatting and easy telecommunicating 
don't mix. (PC-WRITE and VOLKSWRITER DELUXE don't auto- 
reformat, don't reshape their paragraphs around changes you 
make until you ask them to; all the others we recommend do 
Except WORDSTAR 3.3, which uploads handily, downloads 
messily. Now you know why we call this whole subject "The 
Shame of Word Processing".) 


Fixing tlie major source of word 
processing errors and slowness . . . 

Kriya Systems, Inc.; Apple II family « IBM PC and 
compatibles; 128K; $49.95 « Macintosh; $59.95 e 
Commodore 64; $39.95; copyprotected? NO; 
Simon & Schuster, Electronic Publishing Group, 
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 
10020; 212/245-6400. 

STEWART BRAND: This most miraculous of 
programs enables the machine to train you to 
use the machine at your optimum capability. 
There's no more fundamental computer skill 
than keyboard dexterity With it, you can 
operate at program speed; without it, you're 
always fighting your way through your fingers 
to the work. 

TYPING TUTOR III does fortypers what the 
aerobics books did for runners — quantify the 
process, take it one part at a time, and 
constantly reward the budding athlete with 
distinct progress. Better still, this program 

Esc -> m\ RESULTS 



t FSCOpd FHJJRSS Bid projTM 

Record progress and add this lesson to pur Ms tow file. 

The graph in TYPING TUTOR III shows every detail 
of how you're doing on the various characters 
(bottom row) in Words Per Minute, including 
improvement in performance since the last 
chart— it's usually dramatic. 

analyzes your performance in microscopic 
detail (thousandths of a second) and lets you 
know instantly how you're doing, so you 
adjust and improve without even thinking 
about it— Skinnerian reinforcement at its 

Starting with the "home row" keys the 
program gives you a quick drill, reports your 
speed in words-per-minute (WPM) and 
number of errors, and on to the next lesson. 
It begins with a 20 WPM threshold; as soon 
as you master a letter at that speed, it gives 
you different letters; letters you're not fast 
with are repeated until you master them. You 
can stop any time, and the program will 
remember where you left off and what your 
skills are till next time (it will do that for a 
number of students simultaneously). You can 
get a graph any time that shows your 
proficiency with the various characters and 
also your detailed improvement (or decay) 
since last time you checked the chart. 
Whenever drill gets old you can go play Letter 
Invaders and zap incoming letters and letter 
combinations— the game picks up on your 
skill level and constantly challenges it. That's 
amazing. Why don't more games do that? 

Training choices within TYPING TUTOR III 
include Alphabet Keys, Number Keys, Words 
Test, Numbers Test, Full Keyboard Test, 
Standard Speed Test (handy for employers), 
and a customization utility The manual is 
simple and inviting. Since the program runs 
on nearly everything, it could be used in a 
computer store to help decide which machine 
and keyboard best suit you. 

Of the dozens of typing programs available, 
this is still the top. The closest market 
competitor is MASTERTYPE , which is 
more gaudy more fun, less instructive, and 
copy protected (TYPING TUTOR III isn't). On 
the TRS-80 Model 100 there's a neat typing 
program, with game, called TUTOR + (copy- 
protected? NO; cassette; $50; Portable 
Computer Support Group, 11035 Harry Mines 
Blvd., Suite 207, Dallas TX 75229, 214/351- 

Cheery, solid . 


The Word Processing Book (A Short Course in 
Computer Literacy)-, Peter McWilliams; revised 
edition, 1984; 299 pp.; $12.95; Quantum Press, 
Doubleday & Co., Inc., 501 Franklin Avenue, 
Garden City, NY 11530; 516/294-4400; or 

STEWART BRAND: The most congenial of 
introductions to the wonders as well as 
intricacies of word processing is Peter 
McWilliams' classic, updated and expanded 
in Fall '84. He's entertaining, instructive, and 
quite usefully judgmental about products. 
Though we're collaborators and friends with 
Peter, his shopping perspective is enough 
different from ours to be worth checking. If 
someone you know is considering word 
processing, this book can be an invaluable 
guide and encouragement. 




STEWART BRAND: Matrix diagrams like on the next two pages 
are common in computer magazines— it's one of the few ways 
they can compare software products without offending 
advertisers. This one aims to be more useful. It leaves out the 
common stuff that all our recommended programs do- 
wordwrap, justification, search & replace, hard disk compatible, 
etc.— and concentrates on their differences. The differences are 
selected to be the most important ones— "important" meaning 
that the absence of a certain feature may make the program 
useless to certain users (footnotes, decimal aligning) or may 
greatly reduce the ease-of-use for certain intensities of word 
processing (split screen, "undo" command, macros). Beware of 
buying a program with more features than you need; they'll only 
hinder and distract you. On the other hand, it's interesting to 
have a program that still invites exploration months after you've 
begun using it. 

I threw in three all-in-ones— APPLEWORKS (p. 108), ENABLE 
(p. 109), FRAMEWORK (p. 110)— to compare their integrated 
word processors to the specialized ones in this section. 

CHARLES SPEZZANO: I divide the field of word processors into: 

• Lightweight—stmWy correspondence and memos; 

• Middleweight— irequenX writing of letters and reports or 
articles, but no need for advanced features like automatic 
footnotes or split-screens, no very long documents (over 
twenty-five pages); 

• Heavyweiglit—a full complement of advanced features that 
will take you through articles and complex (varying formats) 
reports all the way up to books. 

STEWART BRAND: Roughly from light to heavyweight, 
certainly from left to right . . . Recommended to run on . . . 
The machines that make the program worthy. Not copy 
protected For the user, copy protection is a nuisance, reducing 
adaptability of the program in your working situation. 
Minimum memory required/maximum memory useable The 
minimum tells if it'll run on your machine; the maximum tells if 
it'll take full advantage of your expensive acres of RAM. 
Useable lines on screen A critical matter for many; tunnel 
vision is the major restriction of computer writing; few 
available lines for writing makes it worse. Maximum file size 
(double-spaced pages) Estimated at 250 words per page 
(about 1 .6K); if you do long documents and the program has 
short files, it better link files for printing. Spellchecks easily 
with . . . Some have their own proprietary spellers; some are 
comfortable with good generic ones (see p. 62). 

Telecommunicates easily with . . . Same deal; if you 
telecommunicate much it is a major consideration, making PC- 
out (see pp. 138-157). Useable for programming A surprising 
number of people use their word processor for writing code as 
well as text. Supports hard disk directories ... A word 
processor without this sub-filing capability is wasted on a hard 

"Undo" command available It means you can replace text 
you've deleted either inadvertently or because you wanted to see 
what the copy looked like without it; a boon. Automatic 
reformatting The text adjusts immediately around any changes 
you make instead of requiring you to request the adjustment; 
another boon. On-screen page breaks/page numbers If you're 
at all oriented to the printed document this becomes quite 
important; also an easy way to find your place in the text. Split 
screen Permits simultaneous viewing and editing of two or 
more documents or parts of documents; critical if you're 
blending texts; irrelevant otherwise. Can print direct from 
memory Handy for short-document people like me who don't 
want to have to save to disk (there goes speed and disk space) 
just to print out something ephemeral. Continuously saves 
text/automatically backs up files Disaster insurance; I thought 
both were a mild nuisance until both saved hours of otherwise 
lost work; "continuously saves" periodically sips your text 
onto disk (with a tiny work pause, on some you can set the 
periodicity); "automatically backs up" keeps the previous draft 
on disk just in case— halves the available disk storage. Macros 
available Keyboard enhancers like PROKEY and SMARTKEY 
(p. 174) within the program that enable you to take shortcuts 
by putting routine text or routine command sequences under 
keys that you assign. Mouse compatible If you drive your 
cursor around the screen a lot, especially for editing, a mouse 
is fast, but it takes half your fingers off the keyboard. 

Links files for printing Long files can get unwieldy, so it's better 
(and safer) to break them up; linking means a sequence of files 
can be printed out as one long document, with page numbers 
printed appropriately. Merge capability Personalized form 
letters usually; a monumental convenience; "conditional merge" 
permits automatic selectivity like "send to everybody in this list 
except the Californians"; at some point of volume you're better 
off with a full-scale file manager program like PFS:FILE (p. 80). 
Page width possible Especially if you're working with 
spreadsheets this can be crucial; otherwise irrelevant. Decimal 
alignment/math capability If you're doing columns of dollar 
figures, this'll make them line up; math is pocket-calculator 
level, usually less convenient than one. Footnote capability 
A major chore made easier; some offer the choice of end-of-text 
or same-page for placement. Multicolumn formatting/whole 
columns may be moved Handy for newsletters, reports and 
such; moving a column can be like Rubik's cube if the program 
doesn't help. Can edit while printing/proportional printing 
Lets you forge ahead writing while you're printing; proportional 
printing spaces /'s more narrowly than m's, so the result looks 
typeset; pretty. 

Bolding, t 
to use: j 
key, type 

iS the bold, 
ill be bolded. 

ight, and centering 

underlined , 

are all simple 

right or center 

flush right 

This is an example of true proportional spacing. In proportional spacing the capital 
W is wider than the small i. Each print thimble or wheel has a slightly different 
character width and placement (a character might be a bit to the left or right when 
compared with other characters). 

Ordinary versus proportional printing. 








Lines On 

Max. File 


Easily With... 

With . . . 

for Pro- 

Hard Disk 

j^ (Apple 
& IBM) 

"Undo" matic 
Command Refor- 
Available matting 

2.4: Apple, 
1.0: Atari 
2.0: IBM 
$50-$70, p. 52 




Commodore 64, 
Atari 800, Apple II 
family. IBM PC, 
PC]r ■ 

ConKTiodore 64 





128K IBM 


48K Atari, 



15; can be 
24 on IBM 

3 Atari, 5 
is limit 

SPELLER. 28.000 

to 45.000 


SPELLER, 80,000 

words-Si 25 



buffer, 2K 

maximum 3K 

on lie 


^ $50 

^ p. 52 



Any Commodore 





-3 4.5, $195 

p. 54 

51 2K 

22 maxi- 

ent on font 


20,000 words-S80; 
RIGHT, 40.000 

$100 MAC- 
TEP (Public 

flick back 
and forth 


A: Apple; B: IBM 
p. 54 

Apple lie, IIC-S125 

eiK Apple 
128K IBM 

64K Apple 


32 Apple 
60 IBM 

100,000 words-S95 

With "Print 
to Disk" 





p. 53 

Atari 800XL, 1200 





36.000 words-S50 



$35. p. 52 

Commodore 64 
Apple II, He 




64K lie 
128K lie 





1^-30,000 words 


2.8, $189 
p. 55 



disk is 

50,000 words 





2.5, $10; 
$75 full reg. 
p. 59 



125,000 words-S40 




2.2, $295 
p. 58 





24; 43 





disk is 

125.000 words-S40 
45,000 words-S150 




^ 3.3, $350 
^ p. 56 









disk is 

65,000 words (MS- 
DOS only)-S1 45; 
45,000 words-S150 






S 2.14: MS-DOS, 
Z $249 

2.16: CP/M, $10C 

p. 56 




56K CP/M 
96K MS- 




disk is 

45,000 words-Si 50 









can be modiL 

by user 

1.05, $195 
p. 58 


ent on font 

disk is 


20,000 worris-S80: 




any Mac 




1.2, $250 
p. 113 







'■^i:.i.;C(i v,-n!rif;-e.i';:) 

or other Ap- 
ple terminal 



1.0, $595 
p. 109 

ii>i.: i-c; 
l[;iv, i-C 








disk is 

disk is 

"^'M-;'S;; .■"^-''" 




1.1, S695 
p. 110 

21 IBM; 

29 AT&T 







2000 PLUS 
1.01, $595 
p. 57 


256K PC; 
320K PC Al 




disk is 

^^-65,000 words 






3= $300 

p. 61 




disk is 

125.000 words-S40 

requires re- 
of incoming 





^ 4.0, $495 
^ p. 60 







disk is 

;^-100,000 words 

requires re- 
of incoming 



2.0, $475 ' 
p. 60 



19; 39 




disk is 

;^-80,000 words 

requires re- 
of incoming 





^Includes $50 rebate towards purchase of Microsoft Mouse. 

Hgrf indicstes iiitegrateif program. 

MAC-SPELL-RIGHT and THE-RIGHT-WORD: Assimilation, Inc., 485 Alberto 
Way, Los Gatos, GA 95030; 800/622-5464 or, in CA, 800/421-0243. 


screen Auto- 
Page Can Print Con- mati- Links Decimal 
Breal<s/ Direct tinually caliy iVIouse Files Alignment/ Footnote 
Page Split from Saves Baclcs Macros Compati- For Merge Capa- PageWidtti Math Capabil- 
Numbers Screen Memory Text Up Files Available ble Printing bility Possible Capability ity 


Muiti- Columns Can Edit Propor- 

Column May Be While tional 

Formatting Moved Printing Printing 


(^ HOMEWORD 132 columns 

132 columns 


Both in 




(''-requires MEGA- 116 columns *^/»^ built-in 
mouse MERGE- max. (de- calculator 
S125* pendent on 
font size & 

PFSflLE- 78 columns 


132 columns 


240 columns 


;^-condi- 254 columns 
tional merge 


»^op- *^-op- \^ *^-MOUSE f^ 
tional tional SYSTEMS; 



255 columns i^l 


250 columns 

DOS 2.0 



i^-MOUSE Only MAIL- 999 columns ^1 FOOTNOTE 

SYSTEMS; with MERGE-$99 $99 

MICRO- MAIL- if purchased Digital Marketing, 

SOFT MERGE- separately 2363 Boulevard 

MOUSE $99 Circle #8, 

Walnut Creek, 
CA 94595 
(415) 947-1000 

»^-sup- «^-0n 
pressible IBM 

p'-condi- 254 columns 
tional merge 





when you 

ask for 




(^ 116 columns 
max. (de- 
pendent on 
font size & 


MEGA- 192 columns viv-m 
W0RKS-$125; spreadsheet 




GRAM-$30 + 


160 columns (^/(^ 

(^ (-^ 


(/* (-'-MOUSE 

c" 255 columns (^/(-'-in 

256 columns o'./C 






patch avail- 
able upon 



(> 255 columns 







f -sorter ex- 132 columns 
tra $95 


(^/(^ (^- c* e" (^ Format & p'-de- c' c'-condi- 250 columns f/ 

horizon- Text, Yes, signed for tional merge 

tal& Com- mouse 

vertical mand, No 

^MEGAMERGE: Megahaus, 5703 Oberlin Dr., San Diego, CA 92121; 

+ APPLEWORKS MAILING PROGRAM: Intl. Apple Core, 908 George St., Santa 
Clara, CA 95054; 408/727-7652. 

571_" 'dsi„i''f.^^^^^^-!^^^^^';;^^»f':ry^-^. 

■d'e d I cia't e d ^^ ca n ''ro n.g 'Se'ri d u% e"; ^ 
'■^a.;;t ::: /■■ . ":-:\ -''::-■ y;-c,y-„, ^f::::::;;^::^;;•?■;;:.;;: 
w:e : a r e - m et ■ h e r e;:;-oflS;i rrg r - - •' 
f I ha 1 ■ w aj - We /have : c p i 
"a ' p r tv.o n o I ,\ it ;' a's '^at' ''f vn;aj ": r-es I i^n g -^ 
p 1 ac e f o r t h o s eV w h o ^^;g'a'v e' / :t h e if;; ;■:'•:; 'S 
lives t ha 1 t hat n:a 1 1 o n m.ig h,,t /I (,v e i; 1 1 

Press ESC to go to the 

HOMEWORD's graphics make the program unique. 
When you're writing, images on the bottom of the 
screen show the amount of worldng memory ieft, 
the amount of disl( storage left, and a "sicetch " of 
each whole page as it will appear when it's 
printed— like a living miniature of your work. I 
found myself fascinated with it; no other program 
has such a thing. 

Icons make it easy to learn, easy to 
remember. . . 

Tom Kain; version 2.4; Apple II family » version 
2.0; IBM PC and compatibles; IBM PCjr; 128K; 
$69.95 ® version 2.4; Commodore 64 • Atari 
800/800XL; $49.95; copy-protected? YES; Sierra 
On-Line, Inc., P.O. Box 485, Coarsegold, CA 
93614; 209/683-6858 ® IBM PC, PCjr; DOS 2.1; 
128K; copy-protected? YES; $75; IBM Entry 
Systems Division, P.O. Box 1328, Boca Raton, FL 
33432; 800/447-4700. 

STEWART BRAND: The most volatile part of 
the word processing market is the so-called 
"low end" — low-cost programs on low-cost 
machines for kids and beginners. 
Broderbund's BANK STREET WRITER ruled 
the roost in 1983 and is still loved by some. 
(Scarola defends it on p. 184 in Learning, 
where it may be defensible. The program was 
written for teaching writing— first you write, 
then you change modes and you edit. Being 
forced to work in two modes I find perpetually 
confusing.) In 1984 HOMEWORD took over. 
It costs the same, does more, does it easier, 
and, thanks to its use of graphics, it's 
easier to catch on to and to pick up again 
when you've been away from it for awhile. 

The low-end programs may be cheap, but 
they're far from weak. HOMEWORD, like the 
others here, does wordwrap (you don't need 
to hit CARRIAGE RETURN at the end of a line, 
or even notice where the ends of lines are), 
does bold, underlined, and centered text, 
permits easy moves of blocks of text (as well 
as block delete and block copy), numbers 
your pages in sequence if you want, and 
automatically reformats your text around any 
changes you make (which is more than 
manage). In addition it has an "Undo" 
command for bringing back deleted text, 
automatically backs up files (so you always 




Erase text 

Insert erased text 

Best on the Commodore . 

Kevin Lacy; Commodore 64; copy-protected? YES; 
$34.95; Hesware, 390 Swift Ave., #14, South 
San Francisco, CA 94080; 415/871-0570, ext. 100. 

;Effii"j'iKi2:i'l.-.i:L'.. '.LIZ:' 

?g;#J^a-|^^'; :an'/i;riainf ||t^|y^ii^ 

!_ !.""Z3rJ*''''3?r.'"S!l-l"..'.:r.!ri^'.'j 

STEWART BRAND: At present this is the dean 
of Commodore 64 word-processing 
programs, one you can do serious writing 
with. Why EASY SCRIPT from Commodore 
and PAPER CLIP from Batteries Included 
continue to sell for the Commodore 64 baffles 
me. They can't even manage to end lines on 
the screen without breaking words in the 
middle. At a similar price OMNIWRITER 
outclasses them both and includes a merge 
capability and a decent 30,000-word spelling 
checker (bless it, it'll tell you the number of 
words in your document). 

In addition to its basic good sense 
OMNIWRITER is full of politenesses and 
clevernesses. Polite: a cue card which fits 
around your function keys; a good command 
reference card; choice of colors on the screen 
for text and background, easily changed to 
match your mood or the room's light; the file 
directory viewable even while you're writing. 
Clever: you can toggle quickly between 40- 
column width and 80-column (both have 
large letters — with the 80 you scroll sideways 
along the long lines) and you can write in 
both; tap "home," cursor goes to top of the 
screen, tap it again, goes to top of document; 
page breaks and page numbers are shown on 
the screen, and you can go to any page by its 
number. The up-to-23-page files can be linked 
for printing long documents. The program 
will blend in material from MICROSOFT 
MULTIPLAN (p. 70) and can go to 240 
columns wide. 

Fast, easy, and telecommunicates on the 
Commodore . . . 


Ken Skier; Commodore 64; $49.95; Prentice-Hall, 
General Publishing Division, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 
07632; 800/624-0023 or, in NJ, 800/624-0024. 

a cartridge you plug into the back of your 
computer, it's fast and roomy. You can fit 
more than 20 double-spaced pages of text 
into a single document. It's designed for 
easy telecommunicating. It handles with 
aplomb the normally arduous task of saving 
files to the Commodore disk drive. 

No comparable package on any computer 
writes and telecommunicates for as low a 
price, except maybe the Radio Shack Model 
100 (p. 16), and you can't play games or 
make music with the Model 100 when your 
work is done. OMNIWRITER has a speller 
and merge capability, but SKIWRITER has a 
better manual and is much easier to start 
with and use. I'd choose SKIWRITER. 




have the previous version of a document if, 
God forbid, you lose the current one), and 
linl<s files for printing (which is fortunate, 
since files are limited in size depending on 
your computer. For checking spelling there's 
HOMEWORD SPELLER (30,000 words, 
S35-$50, depending upon machine) or 
SENSIBLE SPELLER (80,000 words, $125, 
p. 63). 

HOMEWORD's major drawback is that only 15 
lines of text are displayed at a time, because 
of all the screen space given to the icons, and 
because each format command in the text 
takes up an additional line. That is partly 
compensated by the page-sketch (see photo), 
and also by ready access to a screen-width 
full-80-column display of text as it will appear 
when printed (may or may not be legible in 
detail, depending on your system; you do all 
your writing in 40-column width, nice for 
those whose minds are young or whose eyes 
are old). 

Another apparent drawback is that once you 
know your way around the icon commands, 
they get cumbersome. It takes nine 
keystrokes to move a block of text, for 
example. Fortunately HOMEWORD has a set 
of control-key commands (and a good 
reference card) that short-cut most 

functions — a block move takes five 
keystrokes that way. On the IBMs you can 
suppress the icons entirely and get a full 24 
useable writing lines on the screen. 

Invitingly simple to enter, HOMEWORD 
becomes more sophisticated as you do, 
which is one of our measures of an 
outstanding program. The manual is good, 
and there's an audio cassette to talk you 
through your first session (always a delicate 

When you're messing with what you've written on 
HOMEWORD, a different set of images— called 
icons— are on the bottom of the screen. They 
become commands when you point the cursor at 
them. The basic menu includes "print, " "edit, " 
"file, " "layout, " "customize, " and "disk 
utilities. " Those lead to 28 other icon commands, 
each labeled with a word indicating its function. A 
good beginner's program should provide constant 
and easy rewards for using it, and it should always 
leave you certain about how to back out of a corner 
you wander into. HOMEWORD does both. 

coimands ^ The cursor is now oh " IF tie" . 
Xf I Kit: ?'retupn*^> Ifll get detaileai 
iflle;: citolces.'^"' 

Get document 

Save document 

Best on Atari. 

All Atari home computers; copy-protected? YES; 
$39.95; Atari Corporation, P.O. Box 3427, 
Sunnyvale, CA 94088-3427; 408/745-4851. 

ATARIWRITER is the kind of program that 
amazes old word-processing hands with the 
range of its abilities on a humble machine. It 
has no significant competition on the Atari. 
While not as fully capable as OMNIWRITER 
on the Commodore 64, it has some features 
that OMNIWRITER doesn't—an excellent 
manual, an "undo" command, and easy 
capability for proportional printing and 
double-wide printing. Notable limitations are 
the absence of bold lettering and the absence 
of overtyping as a way to change text (delete 
and insert is the only choice — my preference 
anyway), in "preview mode" 80 columns of 
text can be scanned across, but you can't edit 
without returning to 40 columns. 

Educator Edna Mitchell runs an office at 
Mills College, Oakland, California, with 

EDNA MITCHELL: I had been struggling alone 
for many months to master WORDSTAR and 
had not yet become confident enough to trust 
any important or hurried writing to that 
program. Of course I knew how powerful it 
was, but it couldn't do it for me with the time 
pressures I live under daily. With 
ATARIWRITER I was delighted with the ease 
of producing material with different print 
types, justified margins, sub- or 
superscripts, underlining, and columns. I 
quickly learned to chain files, to reformat for 
printing, to move text and merge files and 
search for strings. I learned the hard way to 
watch for the limits of free memory in the 

ATARIWRITER gets the user into the program 
instantly with a mini-overview— learn a little 
bit immediately and add the complex features 
later. It is this feature which enabled me to 
teach the process to my students and to 
others on my staff very quickly. I haven't yet 
given it to my secretary because I don't want 
to give up the computer and printer to her 
full-time use. Once one successfully begins to 
use a word processor it is inconceivable to be 
without it. It does not reduce the amount of 
paperwork I do; instead it increases it by 
making the production of words so easy and 

■;:c-<ind ^j.: ;'as ^•; y 011^: ni giit%i:i:Ke; tb:- rtry :-t h:e;:f»"j 
■thlhg^'^yoursel^f >;'vsoMe:?wiriter;:\day^;,^^^ 
:=wi.Il ■:•telI'^/y^u•■\how^^.the■■:^■Dodo:■■:Wanagells€/■^:, 

C3 F i rs t ,^ it Marked::0ut ''ia vra ce- cour se^^^i: j: 
in a sort of circle^ Cthe exact }? 
shape doesn't Matter,, ■' it said^J 
and then all the party were placed 
along the course^ here and there; ; 
There was no one/ tWo^i three^ alridi 
away! ' ■ but they began running when 
they 1 iked^ and left of f when they u 
knbw^ when: the vrace':: was>-bMer^.^ ,:^- 
However ^ When they had been funniinig 
^ haIf-;an-hour:.'or ^so^ -and/- were '.:qu,i-t:e«j: 
.^dry : again ^:f;:the-'l>odo^/'suddeni'yi^ caii:e:d3;y 
•buty.v.The' raee:i''is/-b,Mer !■';■■ %and\/;theys3*; 

:PRE5S'[BaTd:;RETURK^T,0^HENU/v/. :::/::':;/.;s'iS|§>:p 



: (On IBM PC) 

One of the nicest things about PrS:HliITE is the unj it shoi. 
paqe breaks like this transition fron page 1 to 2. Bolii is 



PFSiRbfUKi 1 







An advantage of PFS:WRITE is that it blends with 
a family of equally simple and effective 
programs— PFS:FILE (p. 80), PFSMPOHT (p. 81), 
PFS:GRAPH, PFSMCESS (p. 151), and its own 
100,000 word speller, PFS:PROOR 

Apple lle/llc; $125 ® PC/MS-DOS machines; 128K; 
$140; 80-column screen required; copy- 
protected? YES; 

IBM PC/XT » MS-DOS machines; 128K; 2 disk 
drives; copy-protected? YES; $95; 

both from Software Publishing Corp., 1901 
Landings Drive, Mountain View, CA 94043; 

STEWART BRAND: The enormous popularity 
of this program is well earned. It is living 
proof that for many of us, having lots of 
options in a program is not a feature, it's a 
bug. Keep it simple, right in the middle of 
what's most needed, and let the rest go by. I 
wish PFS:WRITE ran on my Kaypro— nearly 
all of my writing is short reviews and letters 
and is much better suited for PFS:WRITE than 

obvious lightweight choice for someone who 
writes letters and nothing else. It is even 
more self-evident and easier to learn than 
VOLKSWRITER, has all the standard features 
plus automatic reformatting, and even takes 
the address out of a letter and automatically 
centers it on an envelope. 

It is not, however, a flexible program. I once 
spoke to one of the men who wrote the 

ggr^?-tss^j;'^^;?aa^i;^ ^jiai^'^i'!^j^^j^^^aas;»^ 

program and he basically said that the design 
and the popularity of the program revolve 
around the fact that it offers few choices, 
therefore requires few decisions. For 
example, although it is mostly a "what you 
see is what will print" program, if you force a 
page break, the screen no longer accurately 
reflects the page and line you are on. In fact, 
no real changes can be made within a 
document to deviate from the overall format 
you have chosen for that document. You 
cannot even temporarily change the left 
margin to indent a paragraph. The right 
margin cannot be pushed beyond column 80. 
If you create a header or footer, you get it on 
every page, including page one, whether you 
want it there or not, and the headers and 
footers all are centered. They cannot be flush 
left or right. 

STEWART BRAND: That's fine with me. I'm 
much more concerned with words than 
format. I'd rather have a fiddle-free program 
that gets politely out of my way. An example 
of this program's built-in courtesy: I tried to 
save a document to a disk that had not been 
formatted for PFS files; halfway into the save 
the program stopped, told me the problem, 
and asked if it should format the data disk for 
me; when I said yes, it quickly formatted the 
disk, went ahead and saved the file on it, and 
returned me to the document, swift and 
pretty. Most programs would stop and ruin 
your day with a problem like that. There's 
even a feature in the Search function that tells 
you the number of words in your document- 
no other word processor that I know of does 
that within the program. 


A typical working screen 

on MACWRITE, This is 1 4 point 

"New York" type 

•Pihln TeHt 38P 

Bold XB 

Italic ^1 

Underline 3eu 

IDartffllDB 360 

EKiMitexm %s 



This 9 point -G«»va-, 1 2 poinl "Toronlo". 
12 poinl -nonaco^, 12 point "Chicago 
«2 pouit -Venice- , 12 JMfW 1i.«U«n", 

iz peiat -aiMia-. li ^nt 'aa^ FrancitM' 

The amount of range on MACWRITE makes it useful for design of display 
text ol all kinds The subUUe on the cover of the Whole Earth Software 
Catalog was designed on our Macintosh, with customary Mac glee 

This MACWRITE screen was printed out on the 
Image Writer printer using the Macintosh print- 
screen facility 


A revolution in word processing 
graphics . . . 

Encore Systems; Macintosh; 128K; currently 
bundled with computer; copy-protected? NO; 
Apple Computer, 20525 Mariani Ave., Cupertino, 
CA 95014; 800/538-9696. 

with the original Macintoshes to showcase 
the machine's astonishing graphic talents. 
In our office it was put to immediate work 
generating all posted memos, often combined 
with droll images from MACPAINT (p. 127). A 

typical MACWRITE letter is one I got from a 
reader of our magazine CoEvolufion: 
whenever he mentioned the magazine, he 
wrote it large type, italic, bold, outlined and 
shadowed— a fair approximation of our logo; 
we were so charmed he got extra-attentive 

Later incarnations of MACWRITE have added 
a disk-using capability that permits long 
documents along with a nice page indicator. 
It's still a good basic word processor and 
memo maker for the machine, but for 
serious power you'll want MICROSOFT 
WORD (p. 60). HAYDEN SPELLER (p. 63) 
supports both. 

Typical office use of 
MACWRITE. The map 
was done with 
drawing by James 
Donnelly was not. 



Best on the Apple lie and lie . 

Tim Gill; Version 2.8; Apple Me; ProDOS; 64K; 
$189 o Apple III; SOS; 128K; $229 o Apple lie; 
ProDOS; 128K; $189; copy-protected? YES; 

Tim Gill; Apple lie; ProDOS; 128K; 80-column 
screen ® Apple III; SOS; 128K ® Apple lie; 
ProDOS; 128K; copy-protected? NO; Included with 

both from Quark, Inc., 2525 W. Evans, Suite 220, 
Denver, CO 80219; 800/543-7711. 

STEWART BRAND: One of the handiest 
programs I've seen, WORD JUGGLER, well 
translated from its origins on the bigger Apple 
III, has beat out APPLE WRITER lie as the 
leading word processor on the He and He. It's 
probably at its best at either enhancing or 
replacing a secretary, since it specializes in 
handling correspondence adroitly— it has a 
full "conditional merge" capability for 
tailoring form letters, and its envelope 
addressing dexterity is second only to 

Unlike many older programs on the Apples, 
WORD JUGGLER is quick— it was the very 
first product to take advantage of Apple's new 

operating system, ProDOS. Getting to and 
from disk, printer, current working document, 
and preview mode is always intuitively easy 
and fast. There is even a single command that 
converts your Apple to an expensive 
typewriter, where you type directly on the 
printer. And a single command prints a 
document direct from memory. With the 
program come 19 command-marked keys to 
unobtrusively replace ones on your Apple 
keyboard— a great help. I give WORD 
JUGGLER high points for transparency— 
you see the work, not it. 

The included speller LEXICHECK deserves 
separate comment. Version 2.0 is a major 
improvement over previous incarnations. You 
can now look up words wtiile you're writingio 
see if they're right. The dictionary will 
highlight the questionable word, suggest 
correct alternatives, and install any one you 
like for you. When checking a whole 
document (which can be done without having 
to store on disk first) LEXICHECK also tells 
you the number of words in the document. 
Among the 50,000 words, I was bemused to 
find "fuck," which is still missing from 
many printed dictionaries. The words seem to 
be assembled as word parts, so you can get 
some anomalies. When I asked the speller to 
look up "wifing," it said it was a valid word 
and offered as valid alternatives "wiling," 
"wiping," "wiring," and "wising." Oh well. 

y'nmi'M^dmMm i-col® scrp teirt yiti.: lis las m nm 

.:EM me^ f;!' tot ¥1 ffetta easij. 

Kmm mm. lo ei f wj m m.%mi. 

That LEXICHECK is included helps make 
WORD JUGGLER an exceptional bargain. 

Also compatibly from Quark come 
TERMINUS ($89), a telecommunicator, and 
CATALYST He ($149), which makes the Apple 
He and He work happily with a hard disk. 
WORD JUGGLER is supposed to be 
comfortable with files from PFS:FILE (p. 80). 

Write anywhere, even print . 

$399 (8K model); $499 (24K model); 8K RAM 
expansion modules, $120 per kit (capacity to 
32K); Radio Shack, 1700 One Tandy Center, Ft. 
Worth, TX 76102; 817/390-3700; or contact your 
local Radio Shack dealer. 


Version 1.0; TRS-80 Model 100; $149.95; Portable 
Computer Support Group, 11035 Harry Nines Blvd, 
#207, Dallas, TX 75229; 214/351-0564. 

STEWART BRAND: The truly portable 
computers, called lap computers or 
notebook computers, usually have simple 
word processors wired into them— good 
introductory programs that are completely 
sufficient for many uses. The first to 
dominate and still the low-rent leader is 
Radio Shack's 100, with a fine word 
processor on board. (See p. 16 for more 

information on the machine.) For telecom- 
municating, for notetaking, for first-draft 
writing it's outstanding. Beyond that . . . 

JIM STOCKFORD: Radio Shack's built-in 
word processor is a terrific communicating 
tool except that it doesn't print worth a 
damn, beyond the crudest memo quality. 
WRITEROM has all the features of every text 
formatter I've seen, with functions I've never 
seen before. It formats pages using 
WORDSTAR dot commands or function 
keys. It lets you center vertically as well as 
horizontally, indent or "undent" (print the 
first line of a paragraph out into the left 
margin). It's got a mail merge feature, you 
can substitute keystrokes for character 
strings, telecommunicate from within the 
program, store TELEX log-on sequences, 
and invoke a picture of your printed file, with 
character, word, and page count. You can 
interrupt printing, type directly, then resume 
printing. It introduces a line feed with 
carriage return if you wish. Since it comes 
as a ROM chip it uses no additional RAM 


Randy Moore; TRS-80 Model 100; 16K or greater; 
not copy-protected; $74.95; CISS Corp., P.O. Box 
27855, St. Louis, MO 63146; 314/432-1361. 

WOODY LISWOOD: Well, Bunky, have you 
wished that WORDSTAR were ported to the 
Model 100? You say that the WORDSTAR 
control key sequences have been burned into 

your psyche over years of use? Has the 
Model 100 and its 40 column width screen 
been causing you to invert your eyeballs 
trying to envision how your masterpiece will 
appear as 55 character columns on your 
printer? Well, your headaches are over. First, 
LAPSTAR converts the 40 column by 8 line 
Model 100 screen into a 60 column by 10 
line screen. Second, LAPSTAR contains all 
but one of those control code sequences you 
grew to love using WORDSTAR. (What's 
missing? LAPSTAR does not have a 
coNTROL-s to back up one character. Instead, 
a coNTROL-H or a backspace will do the trick.) 

There are 320 characters normally displayed 
on the Model 100 screen. LAPSTAR, by 
using smaller characters, displays up to 600 
characters. That is a 87.5% improvement in 
the number of characters shown, quite 
adequate for my eyesight. 

LAPSTAR takes about 4K of memory. It is 
not good in the printing department. A print 
order allows you to set the width of the 
column and the length of the page and that's 
it. If you need fancy formatting, you will 
need to use something like WRITEROM to 
add those codes to your file. 

It's a fantastic program. I wish I'd had it 
from the minute I purchased my Model 100. 
If you do mostly text work, then LAPSTAR 
and the MODEL 100 are a better buy than the 
Model 200. Why spend $500 to get only 40 
more characters on the screen? 


The old standard, now controversial . 

Version 3.3; CP/M-80 machines; 56K « CP/M-86 
macliines; 128K ® version 3.31; PC/MS-DOS 
macliines; 128K; $350 ® IBM PCjr; $195; copy- 
protected? NO; IMicroPro International Corp., 33 
San Pablo Ave., San Rafael, CA 94903; 

Better, cheaper . . . 

Newstar Softvfare, Inc.; version 2.16; CP/M-80 
machines; 56K; $100; ® version 2.16; PC/MS-DOS 
machines; 96K; $249; copy-protected? NO; Rocky 
Mountain Software Systems, 1280-C Newell Ave., 
Suite 147, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; 800/832-2244 
or, in CA, 800/732-2311. 

STEWART BRAND: You go into a computer 
or software store and ask about word- 
processing software. The clerk asks what 
you plan to use it for, listens closely to your 
description of your needs, and then 

— —- iii-' ty«i Ulle^oii! tlie?Fiii*cti6i-;lt»jiT-f^:|dt^ ■ v;-^ 

:iw|Si|tioHii!)i«ice- iaciiity^ for' jCuitoiliiBS ■tfce-xijiprt ' jof; ;■"; •• 


Above, WORDSTAR 3.3; below, NEWWORDIhe 
clone. "The illegitimate child is better than its 
parent. " 

:TESf.v....: : /. . : :. .FBI. L23.C36. Insert. .:.:.-,. .i:. ;>..;,. :^; 

; II oc I riie I :8(iu I N6 niiu 

r:':.:.S(WIIte;.:::.>:. ::,^ 
i'S. save; 4-Tesu«.e' edit 
'l-save.iii]cii»ent.,' . 

I Bark. start . :C: copy 
■:|. mark end , ; ,U nove 

iX:save S 'exit He«word .H hidfehow : Y-delete 
l| quit without saving M .store, to .disk;,.; ' 

.0 copy ,;i.:'vi'4.' '";;&■ :;: 
. J,.erase^, ^:\^ 

V change logged driye; 

I insert a docujient : •; 
■\ froei'/disk"^; 

■On the 1 HI PC HEWHORI) off ersthe'f unction kei/s. to the user for 
: easy prograining as "i«acros";;tthat ;can . perf ora any .sequence of 

' inds desired, find the';kottd«: Tine :is;jeft clear. Underlined 
appears 'Sunderlined ^S: hold/is- *I^U'B..;;;';;,;iv .'' 

:HH*i01ID is even better than yORDSTftR with its help:screens. When 
i go to pull another file into this one, 1 would begin Ctrl-K, 
and then "8". If I paused, not sure of the "R", the above help 
screen would appear to rewind «e of options with Ctrl-K. Then 
when 1 hit "B", the progra* (unlike HOMSTfiR) would next bring up 
here on the bottoa of the screen a directory of the files 
available— that is really useful, fill this at Help Cevel 2 (of 
4 levels). The illegitinate child HEHHORD is better than its parei 

recommends WORDSTAR. Most of the time 
that's the wrong answer. 

Compared to other writing programs 
WORDSTAR is expensive, limited, slow, and 
difficult. Its major attraction is that there's so 
much of it out there — over a million copies 
sold, they say, millions more copied. Indeed 
it runs on nearly everything, even portables 
like the Hewlett-Packard 110 (p. 71), and a 
fair number of other programs try to blend 
with its peculiarities. Its minor attraction is 
that it's a friendly program, well co-evolved 
with its users over these many years (six or 

Two years ago a couple of renegades from 
MicroPro made a WORDSTAR clone called 
NEWWORD that removes many of the 
objections while keeping the same 
commands and file format. It's not 
expensive, less limited, even more friendly, 
and blends everywhere that WORDSTAR 
blends, but it is still as slow to use and 
difficult to learn as the original. It runs only 
on CP/M and IBM compatibles. What are 
NEWWORD's improvements over 
conditional merge capability, whereas it 
costs $99 extra to get MAiLMERGE with 
WORDSTAR. NEWWORD has an "undo" key 
(a major advantage, to my mind), document 
protection, search by page number, access 
to all user areas on hard disk, more helpful 
help messages, better printer support, nice 
micro justification, and a handier installation 
and tailoring procedure. On computers with 
graphics, like IBM and the new Kaypros, 
bold is bold on the screen and underline is 
underlined instead of "Sunderlined'S. 

What does WORDSTAR have over 
NEWWORD? Not much— it can edit while 
printing (spooling), and it works a trifle more 
easily with columns, including moving whole 
columns. MicroPro's worthy new speller 
CORRECTSTAR (65,000 words, IBM 
compatible only, $145) doesn't work with 

One of the kindest attentions to detail in 
WORDSTAR (and NEWWORD) is the help 
screens. Many of them show up only when 
you start a command and pause in 
uncertainty. They can be set to four different 
levels of helpfulness (or lack of interference). 
Likewise, anytime you want to do something 
with files, the program automatically shows 
you the current directory of what's already 
on the data disk. 

There is a potent remedy for the slowness of 
WORDSTAR and NEWWORD, which is 
caused by the programs constantly "going 
to disk" to get one thing or another. Install a 
"RAM disk" and load the program on it. 
Since it is an electronic circuit board 
emulating a disk, everything happens at 
electronic speed, faster even than with a 
hard disk. ("The improvement in response 
time is so dramatic that many people will not 

use WORDSTAR any other way."— Alfred 
Glossbrenner.) Costs a couple hundred 
dollars. Worth it. 

In some reaches of the WORDSTAR empire 
it's still the best word processor available. 
I'd recommend WORDSTAR on Apple II and 
11+ (with CP/M card, $139-$345) and on the 
Radio Shack TRS-80. That's a lot of 

If you've got one of those, get WORDSTAR. 
If you're moving among many different kinds 
of machines, learn WORDSTAR. If your 
close colleagues have WORDSTAR on IBM or 
CP/M (that's my situation), get NEWWORD, 
so you can share advice and files. If you're 
word-processing to your own standard on 
IBM, get one of the programs on the next 
four pages. They'll work better for you. 

ARTHUR NAIMAN: In my estimation, 
WORDSTAR is one of the most poorly 
designed word-processing programs ever 
written— a huge, elaborate farrago of klugy 
patches, sort of like a Rube Goldberg 
machine gone berserk. All kinds of basic 
functions require disk access, thereby 
making the program fantastically slow 
(which it is even where disk access isn't 
involved; for example, its method of sending 
text to the printer is so clumsy that 
sometimes the printer has to wait for the 

PETER McWILLIAMS: Do the readers of 
Introdietlon to WordStar know how its 
author feels about that program? My, my, 
my. It's like seeing Jerry Falwell marching in 
a gay liberation parade: refreshing, but 
surprising nonetheless. 

By the way, your book is my favorite. 
Everyone in my office learned from it. 

ARTHUR NAIMAN: Thanks for your kind 
words. My editor at SYBEX does indeed 
know how I feel about WORDSTAR; in fact, 
one of my requirements before signing the 
contract was that I wouldn't have to use 
WORDSTAR to write the book. 



WORDSTAR is complicated enough to need a 
book to get you into it comfortably. Naiman's 
Introduction to WordStar is the best. (2nd edition, 
1983; 208 pp.; $16.95; SYBEX Computer Books, 
2344 Sixth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710; 
415/848-8233; or COMPUTER LITERACY.) 


^F'~«a'i?a»A 2:;'^ ' a•L^la ^ ^ ^»^agg^^^^ 

Huge, wise, sloooow . . . 


Version 1.01; IBM PC/XT and compatibles; 256K; 
IBM PC AT; 320K; hard disk recommended; copy- 
protected? NO; $595 ($350 to update from 
WORDSTAR); street price, $325; MicroPro 
International Corp., 33 San Pablo Ave., San 
Rafael, CA 94903; 415/499-1200. 

STEWART BRAND: This tremendously 
ambitious word processing program is 
MicroPro's attempt to improve on 
WORDSTAR. As an improvement, it's first 
rate. Excellent manuals this time. Happily it 
is not copy-protected, so using it with hard 
disk is convenient. 

It's a big car with all the options. Luxurious, 
but expensive; safe, but ponderous. This is 
not a program worth going half hog on, so 
we're skipping the 5-disk version 
(WORDSTAR 2000, $495 list; $295 street) 
and mixed-mindedly recommending the 6- 
disk WORDSTAR 2000 PLUS. On that 
"Advanced Features" 6th disk is a not-very- 
good telecommunications feature called 
TelMerge, an impressive mailing list handler 
called MailList, and Starlndex, which does 
elaborate indexes and contents. 

WOODY LISWOOD: If you use floppy disks, 
you will never be happy with WORDSTAR 
2000 PLUS. A monster program, with its 
integrated features it requires close to two 
megabytes on a ten-megabyte hard disk just 
to exist. It seems to have every feature 
which everyone complained was lacking in 
WORDSTAR. It operates through a set of 
menus and submenus which are not quite as 
confusing as the old WORDSTAR. The same 
friendly cursor control commands but that is 
about it for continuity. 

Significant improvements are: better printer 
controls; spelling check from within the 
document for a word, page, paragraph or 
whole document; undelete last deletion; work 
with any subdirectory; delete word, 
sentence, paragraph, or to either line end; 
mathematics within defined blocks; sorts 
within defined blocks; proportional printing; 
on-screen highlighting of special features like 
boldface and underline (no italic); macros 
both for text and commands; and continuous 
reformatting of the screen. 

But it's slow. Try loading a 20-page file and 
send the cursor to the end of the file. Go out 
and have some coffee. 

Because of my wife's experience getting out 
four letters easily with no previous word 
processing experience and nothing but on- 
screen help I want to recommend it for 
everyone. I don't like the speed, but it does 
everything I need. For example, one thing I 
do is load a database into WORDSTAR 2000 
in the unformatted mode and then use 
CORRECTSTAR to check for spelling 
problems. That, for me, is fantastic, since I 
generate 100K databases from sources 
which always, always, contain typos. This 
way I can correct in one pass, rather than 

list, edit, then go record by record to find 
the problems. Has saved me literally hours 
and days of time. 

CHARLES SPEZZANO: I looked in vain for a 
way to delete backwards word by word. How 
could that have slipped by the designers? It 
is one of the most common editing 
maneuvers. And why does MicroPro dictate 
a right margin of 65 or less when preparing 
messages for electronic mail services? MCI 
and the others work best when fed close to 
80 characters per line. 

On the positive side, it is easy to grasp the 
command structure and move around the 
menus, much easier than getting started 
with MICROSOFT WORD. The problem with 
that logic, however, is that WORDSTAR 2000 
is clearly a heavyweight word processor that 
requires some study time if you intend to 
use all the features you would bother paying 
that kind of money for in the first place. I 
would rather struggle with MICROSOFT 

WORD or live with WORDPERFECT'S semi- 
automatic reformatting rather than doom 
myself to the endless frustration of waiting 
for GODOT 2000. 

supports 108 printers! It has one of the 
sharpest of spellers in CORRECTSTAR 
(included)— -65,000 words, the ability to 
suggest correct words that sound like what 
you've misspelled, and the enormous 
convenience of doing the correcting while 
you're writing. But it's slowness is an 
aggravation that accumulates. (Reportedly 
the speed problem is greatly improved on 
the IBM AT and clones.) We recommend 
WORDSTAR 2000 PLUS only if its 
considerable features outweigh speed for 
you and you're working with a hard disk. 

This page exercises every talent of ttie 
WORDSTAR 2000— quite a show which includes 
different type faces, overstruck letters, and 
calculations on the fly. 

Bold ( PB) or Emphasis ( PE) Center ( OC) 

j.MTXMn-WMM.wmcr ^mimr SHOg 

It's time once again for stocking up on business cards, memo 
pads, printed stationery, and other custom-labeled business 
supplies. This year we are offering a 102 discount on all 
orders of $25. 00 or more. 

Here are some samples of typefaces you can request: 

Our service is fast, reliable, and accurate. 
Our service is fast, reliable, and accurate. 

4 Header (OH) 

Underline (PU) 

You can select paper in any of these colors : 

Antique white.^- 
Lemon yellow 
Pale blue 
Rosei -^ 


Justify on (OJ) 

(Format and " PH) 

Change font (PF) 


Footnote reference (ON) 
Change left margin 
( TL) or Indent (Tl) 

Bond paper in pale blue ep yellew.-.a 

1^ per sheet with letterhead ! 

4 Overstrike ( PO) Strikeout ( PS) 


1000 business cards $19.95 

2 dozen memo pads $11.95 

2000 sheets, letterhead paper $19.95 
2000 envelopes. 

' Change right margin (TR) 


Double underline (" PN) 


Tab stop (TS) 

Total $91.80- 
(plus 6% tax) 

Beginning June 1, we will change 

our payment terms from net 60 days -«- 
to net 30 days. 

Decimal tab stop (~TD) 
Arithmetic (BA) 

Double-space (' PH) 
Justify off (Format and " O J) 

Sale ends August 1, 1985 • 

Footer (OF) 

Page numbers (Format, OF, and " OA) 







The most elegant middleweight on IBM . 

Camilo Wilson; version 2.2; PC/MS-DOS; 128K; 2 
(<isk drives required; copy-protected? NO; $295; 
Lifetree Software, Inc., 411 Pacific St., Monterey, 
Cft 93940; 408/373-4718. 

mat characterizes VOLKSWRITER DELUXE is its 
maximal use of the IBM PC's ten function keys. 
Ming them straight and combined with "Ctrl, " 
"Shift, " and "Alt, " you 've got 40 commands that 
do nearly everything, and one of them (F1) calls up 
a help screen with the full roster anytime. IVIakes 
for adept left little and ring lingers. 

STEWART BRAND: For quick learning and 
easy remembering, witii strength enougli for 
occasional professional use, nothing beats 
VOLKSWRITER DELUXE. It's more capable 
than PFS:WRITE (p. 54), faster than 
WORDSTAR/NEWWORD (p. 56). Its clean 
ASCII files let you use the best of the spellers 
and synonym finders— IBM's WORD PROOF 
(p. 62)— and it telecommunicates like a 

CHARLES SPEZZANO: Small business 
owners and professionals who do their own 
correspondence will love VW DELUXE's 
ability to have you up and running in an hour, 
as well as the built-in and easy-to-use text 
merge feature. They will also appreciate the 
most self-evident editing, formatting, and 
printing procedures on the market. Students 
cannot go wrong with VW DELUXE. Anybody 
who needs foreign-language characters in 
their text doesn't have many other choices 
(WORDPERFECT is one, p. 60). A secretary 

File Edit Search Character Paragraph Decument 
i S-l list I 

9000 16Ui Ave 
400 S.W 2nd St 

O.W Foote 
Alice Brew 

Page I 101 Ij 





This classic home is lo^raled in Wind -in -the -Willows With (our spa< 
bedrooms and three lull -sized bathrooms, it will graciously acc< 
family in warm, old -fashioned comfort, that is rarely found in today 
modern homes o 

{^opi/ iexf from fbe firs/ document 
fo the Clipboard 

ragraph Document 

Murphy & Allen, Realtors 
11950 l6UiAve E 
SealUe, WA 96112 

I Murphy & .'.lien. Realtors 
^ 11950 l6lhAve E 


This"lassic'home"is"located in Wmd -in -the -Willows With lour spac 
bedrooms and three full -sized bathrooms, it will graciously accomm 
family in warm, old-fashioned comfort ttiat is rarely found in today 
modern homes o 

Page I lOr 

lops on the Mac . . . 

(laelntosh wersiosi) © 

Version 1.05; Macintosti; 2nd disk drive 
recommended; copy-protected? YES; $195; 
Microsoft Corporation, 10700 Nortliup Way, Box 
97200, Bellevue, WA 98009; 206/828-8080. 

STEVEN LEVY: Macintoshing is fun, but a 
severe test of patience. For a year, I waited 
for a heavier-duty word processor than 
MACWRITE. I finally got it— WORD. It gives 
me what I need: unlimited document size (a 
couple hundred pages on floppy, more on 
hard disk), multiple document handling, easy 
centering, wide margins, cursor control 
from keyboard, and lots of specialty features 
like quick footnoting and mail merging. 
Contrary to advance reputation, it's fast 
enough to satisfy a quick typist (though not 
speedy enough to delight— lightning typists 
still will watch some passages appear in 
spurts). You can write a book with WORD, 
and I intend to. 

Now, WORD has its problems. The copy 
protection scheme, requiring you to provide 
the original disk each time you boot, is 
onerous. It lacks some features, like the new 
MACWRITE's page-number-lnside-scroll-bar 
(which I love), and has a wholly 
unsatisfactory "repagi nation" scheme that 
requires a long wait to find the answer to the 
very reasonable question: "What page am I 
on?" Its cursor control commands are rather 

On the Macintosh, WORD takes advantage olthe 
machine's Clipboard to move material between 
documents, and it can show up to four documents 
in separate windows on the screen. You may 
move text very efficiently within a document 
using the mouse, but not between documents 
(you can mouse text between windows with the 
MS-DOS version of WORD; see p. 60). This illus- 
tration is from WORD'S pretty-good manual. 

arcane, but I guess I will learn them once I 
break myself of this odd habit I got from 
MACWRITE of using the mouse all the time. 
It has none of the famous "style sheets" 
that give so much power to WORD on the 
MS-DOS machines (p. 60). 

But consider: I needed no documentation to 
instantly get almost all of WORD'S 
considerable power. Knowing Macintosh and 
using the generous online help was enough. 
When I finally got to the manual, I learned a 
few shortcuts, like how to select text from 
the keyboard, and that progression seems to 
me to the the ideal way to go deeper into a 
program. (A week after I got the program, I 
deleted the 37K "help" file from the disk.) 
Also, since WORD is so well integrated into 
the Mac world, it is a snap to use it in 
conjunction with almost any other Mac 
program, be it graphic, spreadsheet, or 
terminal. (Using the "TEXT" option, WORD 
telecommunicates handily; and WORD 
translates your old MACWRITE files into 
WORD files.) 

I found WORD more than usable with the 
128K machine and external disk drive, 
though a Fat Mac (51 2K) and RAMdisk gives 
you more speed, as well as SWITCHER (p. 
115) capability. The bottom line is that 
WORD'S release means that I can now get 
the things I love from Macintosh— fonts, 
screen resolution, amiable interface, 
integration, etc.— without making a painful 
sacrifice in word-processing power. And the 
street price of around $120 is a hell of a 






will be disappointed with it (too limited). An 
academic will prefer the footnoting capability 

doesn't link files for printing, presumably 
because it doesn't need to— it can handle files 
up to a million bytes (1000K) "in case anyone 
wanted to write a sequel to War and Peace 
without any chapter breaks" (Spezzano). That 
doesn't affect the snap with which it flicks 
from screen to screen, but it does slow down 
the cursor a bit and makes loading and saving 
files a little slower. Another uncommon 
feature is the "notepad," which lets you 
quickly store thoughts, phone numbers, 
notes in a separate file that accumulates while 
you write. 

Limitations. Reformatting of text you've 
messed with is by command rather than 
automatic; no split screen; no "undo" 

command; no macros. For many this may be 
part of the program's attraction. It is straight 
ahead, straight tasty vanilla. 

With version 2.2 the program acquired even 
more speed and the ability to display 43 
lines on the screen instead of the customary 
24, if used with an enhanced graphics 
adapter card. (You can also get an extremely 
graphic version called VOLKSWRITER 
SCIENTIFIC— $495; street $325— which 
gives all manner of special symbols for math 
and science writing. You get Roman and 
Greek alphabets, two type sizes, sundry 
math symbols, chemical bond symbols, etc. 
in high resolution on screen and on printer in 
both draft and high quality mode.) 

VOLKSWRITER DELUXE wins with its ability 
to fit in— on nearly any IBM-style machine, 
with nearly any user, with nearly any 
program. Also check out PC-WRITE (this 
page) for similar qualities. 



When you use the ALT key in 

combination with 

each of the following keys, you get: 

1 2 




6 7 8 9 

a e 




£ Pt / ¥ 

Q W 




Y U I P 

a e 




y ? g n N 

A S 




H J K L 

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Bom free . 

Bob Wallace; version 2.5; IBM PC compatibles; 
PCjr; 128K; copy- protected? NO; $10— 
shareware, $75— full registration, ($25 — 
commission to registered users who have had 
others register from their shareware); Quicksoft, 
219 First Ave. North #224, Seattle, WA 98109; 

STEWART BRAND: This is one of the 
greatest bargains and one of the most 
interesting programs in the Catalog. Its 
outstanding abilities as a text editor have 
been less reported than its marvelous 
distribution system, so we'll do the 
newsworthy access first and then get to the 
meat. You can pick up PC-WRITE free at 
your local user group or get it direct from 
the author for ten bucks. The manual is on 
the disk— print it out and you're in business. 
If you like the program enough to register 
with the author and pay a grateful $75, you 
really are in business. Copy your PC-WRITE 
freely to your friends; if any of them decide 
to register the copy and pay $75 to the 
author, you get a $25 commission back from 
him for each one. Besides the down-home 
business opportunity that goes with 
registration, you also get a bound copy of 
the manual, the next updated version (a 
significant value), and telephone support. 

By cutting out all the middle people Bob, 
Wallace is doing well by doing good. It's a 
bargain to you, a healthy income to him, and 
the program is the most rapidly evolving I've 
seen in the marketplace. He doesn't have to 
worry about competing with his inventory, 
because there isn't any, and there's no 
marketing and distributing people to cut him 
off from the satisfactions and 
dissatisfactions of his customers. The 
version 2.5 I'm looking at has come a great 

distance from what I saw a year ago. In that 
year the program has acquired good on- 
screen page breaks, footnoting, decimal 
tabbing, the ability to reformat a whole file at 
once, and merge capability. 

PC-WRITE is chock with good features like 
word- delete-left (with an intuitively correct 
CTRL- backspace), move by paragraph 
forward and back, character transpose, 
change capitals, a "bookmark" place 
marker, and the niftiest split screen alive. 
Bold and underline look that way on the 
screen, and if you've got color it's brightly 
tailorable. There's "undo" and macros and 
truly useful help screens. But its greatest 
strength is its blazing speed. It can load and 
save files, scroll, and search and replace 
faster than anybody. 

The only major drawback with PC-WRITE is 
that you can't print direct from memory, 
because you have to go to a different part of 
the program to print a file. This makes the 
program less desirable for short document 
use, though I notice that many of us at 
Whole Earth use the program in preference 
to the hundreds of others we have around, 
and we do mostly short documents. Here's 
why I use it so much. 

PC-WRITE has the purest ASCII files 
anywhere, so it blends sweetly with almost 
anything— speller (WORD PROOF would be 
my choice), telecommunicator, whatever. 
Combine it with other public domain 
programs like Jim Button's PC-FILE (p. 82) 
and Andrew Fluegelman's PC-TALK (p. 152), 
and you can travel a high-quality lowroad for 
practically nothing on the PC compatibles. 


Giving software away is a lot of fun. You get 
great letters and great phone calls, people 
are very appreciative, and they give you 
some great ideas. At the same time, with 
PC-WRITE we'll gross about $225,000 this 

—Bob Wallace 



■ \p „,^n r 

for heavyweight word processing in the 

executive suite or professional office. 
XYWRITE 1! + for professional writers 
or professionals who write every day 
and will not mind a few days' break-in 
period in return for blinding speed. 
IViiCROSOFT WORD if you want the 
mouse or like a menu-driven rather than 

a command-driven program. 

STEWART BRAND: I would put it: 
MICROSOFT WORD if you want 
industrial-strength editing, formatting, 
and merging capability along with 
exceptional ease of learning. 

Clean and powerful . . . 

Ashton & Bastian; Version 3.0; IBM PC/XT 
compatibles ® IBM PCjr m MS-DOS machines; 
128K ® Tandy 2000; 256K; copy-protected? NO, 
except Tandy 2000; $495; Satellite Software 
International, 288 West Center St., Orem, UT 
84057; 800/321-4566. 

MIN S. YEE: WORDPERFECT was designed 
for the serious writer/editor/secretary/ 
wordsmith who wants it all— and then some. 
Its features include extraordinary cursor 
control, macro definition, footnoting, mall 
merge (no additional cost), document 
assembly, hyphenation, end-of-page 
demarcation, extended Greek, math, and 
foreign character set, true proportional 
spacing, control of orphans and widows 
(bits of text left lonely at the tops or bottoms 
of pages), password security, user-definable 
defaults, dual document editing, a 100,000 
word spelling checker (no extra cost) and a 
basic math package. 

Editing functions are command-driven while 
formatting and file management commands 
are driven by menu. The "help" mode is so 
useful and clearly written that it can only be 
compared with the help screens in 1- 2-3 
(p. 68). Not only that, but when you want 
to call the folks at Satellite Software 
International for personal help, you can rest 
assured they will be there, cheery and 
willing. They'll even call you back. 

CHARLES SPEZZANO: This program has the 
personality I find most interesting and 
pleasant. WORDPERFECT does everything 
WORDSTAR 3.3 (p. 56) or MULTIMATE can 

do and functions much more smoothly than 
either one of them. Short letters can be 
centered vertically on a page. At the other 
end of the spectrum there is no limit on the 
size of document that WORDPERFECT 
handles easily. Reports with math and 
columns in them are created without any 
difficulty (they are almost impossible to work 
with using VOLKSWRITER DELUXE [p. 58] 
or WORDSTAR). The built-in speller and 
sorter makes WORDPERFECT a complete 
package for a one-person office with needs 
for record keeping and word processing, and 
a powerful component in a small business 
office with more demanding needs. 

STEWART BRAND: With all that it's capable 
of, I'm impressed by WORDPERFECT'S look 
of spareness. Sometimes it feels crippled to 
me, but crippled smart. Its major limitations 
are lack of an "undo" command, not quite 
automatic reformatting, and absence of split- 
screen capability. It partly makes up for that 
by offering two buffers you can jog between. 
The most recent version (4.0) offers 
intriguing improvements — phonetic speller, 
automatic backup while writing, better 
manual, date insertion, outline numbering. 
It's easier to learn than PC-WRITE or 

A new standard . . . 

mtm%mi WBi 

Version 2.0; IBM PC/XT/AT and compatibles; PCjr; 
256K; two disk drives or hard disk required; $375 
(includes $50 rebate coupon for either of 
Microsoft's mice); works better with Hercules 
Graphics Card; copy-protected? YES; Microsoft 
Corp., 10700 Northup Way, Box 97200, Bellevue, 
WA 98009; 206/828-8080. 

STEWART BRAND: What WORD has going 
for it: the greatest supermarket of word- 
processing features on personal computers, 
design from the ground up for fullest use of 
its mouse, easy-to-use menu-command 
structure (still good without the mouse), 
ahead-of-the-art support of printer 
hardware, direct linkage to the next 
generations of computers, the most 
formidable of publishers (who developed the 
very operating system the IBM PC family 
runs on), and a bargain, especially with the 

WORD has all the features of 

math, indexing and password security, but 
adds: an "undo" command of particular 
cleverness (you can see what it's holding), 
up to eight windows, the enormous 
acceleration of editing that goes with an 
adept mouse, "Style Sheets" that preserve 
arrays of formatting commands as 
ornamental as you like, a juicier macro 
facility (called "Glossary"— for text, not 
commands), elaborate conditional merge, 
continuous saving of text (Spezzano scorned 
that one because of the slight pause when it 
happens — until he turned off his machine 
without saving, one hurried evening, and the 
pauses paid off), automatic backup of files, 
support of 64 fonts on printers (my God), 
and on-screen display of bold, underline, 
double underline, italic, super- and 
subscript, strikethrough (for contracts), and 
my favorite, small caps. 

Typically, programs with a lot of muscle are 
muscle-bound (SAMNA III and WORDMARC 
come to mind) — cumbersome, crowded, 
self-hindering. WORD is surprisingly light on 
its feet, quick and inviting to dance with. The 
complexities are kept relatively out of your 
way until you want them. Things you use all 

Harsh, fast . . . 

IBM PC/XT compatibles • Tl Professional; 96K; 
copy-protected? NO; $300; XyQuest, Inc., P.O. Box 
372, Bedford, MA 01730; 617/275-4439. 

its roots to ATEX, a company whose word- 
processing systems can be found in many 
high pressure newsrooms, and that's the 
flavor of the program. It babies you about as 
much as Perry White babies Clark Kent. There 
are no menus, the manual is mediocre, and 
the help screens are really just lists of the 150 

XYWRITE II + is the most purely command- 
oriented PC writing tool on the market. That 
means once you get the hang of it, which 
really doesn't take long, you can fly. No mode 
changes are required to delete or move a 
sentence or a paragraph, just a quick series of 
commands. Most such editing commands are 
implemented with the function keys, in 
combination with the ctrl, alt, and shift 
keys. Many of the non-function key 
commands are mnemonics, like "AU" for 
Automatic Uppercasing of the character that 
immediately follows a period, question mark, 
or exclamation point. [SB: I find "AU" a 
slightly terrifying convenience, like 
wordwrap— leads to addiction and atrophy.] 
Like Dorothy Parker, who once said she 
changed seven words for every five she 
wrote, I erase a lot when I write. With 
XYWRITE II + I have the fastest, most 
comprehensive deleting system I have seen 
anywhere, allowing immediate removal of a 
character, the word the cursor is under, the 
previous word, all text to the end of the line, 


all the text on the line, a sentence, or a 
paragraph. After any of these deletions, it 
instantly reformats your text. 

XYWRITE II + also executes block moves 
as fast as or faster than any other word 
processor I have seen. There are a variety of 
ways to quickly mark a block, after which you 
can do almost anything imaginable to it, 
including storing it as a macro. Columns are 
handled just as easily. You can search forward 
or backward from the cursor, recognizing 
capitals or not, as you wish, and wildcards 
are allowed in a search string. Files are in 
pure ASCII. 

The format of a document can be changed as 
often as you like by entering margin, line- 
spacing, or justification commands. You have 
to use a review command to see your text 
with footnotes (XYWRITE II + numbers these 
automatically and places them at the bottom 
of the right page or at the end of the 
document) and full justification on screen. 
The program offers three different kinds of 
screen splits— horizontal, vertical, and 

XYWRITE II + 's extra features include a four- 
function math program, as well as the ability 
to generate an index or a table of contents — 
these may require some editing before final 
printing to avoid duplicated entries. You can 
remap the keyboard with PROKEY-like(p. 174) 
precision, and there appears to be a ready- 
made Dvorak keyboard available on the 
master disk. The program runs "around" 
DOS. You can jump from your current 
document to a DOS prompt instantaneously, 
run the word-count program from THE WORD 
PLUS package (p. 62), then exit back to where 

rTgErasa.^iSEar.a.^I-^'SiJ'A^VJii- ■: 


;to driveihis diie"'you;practicaHy have;io p to driver-trri^ 
' 'once >;ou'.get' it.«- '• -?''W^^ ^^''^^'i;'"; ''''■'''■ ,,'^'": '^v ■/■/'''' '-'V:/*'' ;'.■'? 

.a tnUictt, lit XWIITE 11+ 4oet— k8«./ for ex-ijU, it ieH«f « ertlrt 
MittlMHltk t ti»|lB Cipuii.l That-sentencercould iio«ie deleted (and ;: . , 
restored^itli "undo") OP; Mqved'.or copied, i;-^ ..■•''', 

Hpr.'^ »»(! iinderlinina , soae taH. sQue'- 

: ^■;,/; ^, ,.., ^ icentered. .:.<-,■ ■ 

Ifl re«e»bered lio«, we could go^to split! screen, lut l.hayen't spent the; - 
requisite week learning thi^progra»... 

you were in the document in a flash. There 
will be plenty of room on your working disk 
for your favorite spell checker, since 
XYWRITE II + 's files only take up about 75K, 
with no overlays to slow things down. 

At $300 XYWRITE II + is a great buy. If there 
was a contest between equally experienced 
users with different word processors, I 
wouldn't want to bet money against the 
person on XYWRITE II + being the first to 
finish writing, editing, and printing a 
document of any kind. That must be some 
sort of a bottom-line endorsement. 

the time are simple and accessible. The 2.0 
version has an included spelling checker of 
80,000 words (accessible while you're 
writing), an excellent manual and online 
tutorial finally, and if the 3-line command 
menu hinders the bottom of your screen, 
there's an option to hide it till needed. I've 
tried 'em all; I use WORD (with mouse, with 
hard disk). It's the extreme mouse 
capability— greater even than on the Mac— 
that decides it for me. 

Drawbacks. WORD is copy-protected, groan, 
a nuisance, though it does function on hard 
disk without requiring the tedium of using a 
key disk. On-screen page breaks and 
numbers are muddy (you have to update 

WORD in a straight floppy disk environment 
can be slow, but a number of hardware 
enhancements will supercharge it for you. 
The mouse, of course. A RAM disk ($230 
and up), 192K minimum, can accelerate the 
speed of the program, same as with 

A hard disk does almost as well. Spezzano: 
"Using a PCturbo board from Orchid 
Technology ($895, 128K; $985, 256K; 
Orchid Technology, Inc., 47790 
Westinghouse Dr., Fremont, CA 94539; 
415/490-8586) transforms WORD from a 
casual jogger to a world class sprinter." 
With the Hercules Graphics Card you can get 
90 columns by 43 lines (39 writeable) on the 
screen (see illustration). With an Apple 
LaserWriter (p. 21) or a Hewlett-Packard 
LaserJet Printer ($3495), you get 
spectacular, publication-quality typesetting. 
WORD also supports the Enhanced Graphics 
Adaptor and monitors, yielding lovely high 
resolution color. 

As WORDSTAR was the link between the 8- 
bit world of CP/M, Apple II, and Radio Shack 
TRS-80 and the 16-bit world of IBM and MS- 
DOS, now WORD is the link between the 
MS-DOS 16-bitters and the oncoming 32-bit 
realm of Macintosh and AT&T's UNIX PC. 
WORD on the Macintosh (p. 58) is slower 
and more limited (no Style Sheets, no 
included speller) than on MS-DOS. 

With Microsoft Word, you can change 
page layouts as often as every page. You 
CAN MIX typefaces, even with right and 
left justification, as frequently as you 

With MICROSOFT WORD and a laser printer such 
as Apple's LaserWriter or Hewlett-Packard's 
LaserJet, you can do your own high-quality 
typesetting. It could revolutionize the business, 
because the savings ol time, money, errors and 
aggravation can be enormous lor the self- 


Writer's helpers 

STEWART BRAND: Nothing eases the 
central labor of writing. "Tria digit 
scribit, totus corpul laborat," 
complained a medieval scribe ("three 
fingers write but the whole body 
labors.") But the mind-numbing 

janitorial periphery of writing can be 
eased considerably by the cheery 
robots of the craft—spelling checkers, 
style checkers, word counters, 
outliners, keyboard enhancers, and text 

Best for spelling and synonyms on IBM . 

William Modlin and David Glickman; IBM PC/XT/ 
AT/Portable; PCjr; 128K; second disk drive 
required for synonym finder function; copy- 
protected? NO; $39.95; IBM, Entry Systems 
Division, P.O. Box 1328, Boca Raton, FL 33432; 

STEWART BRAND: Interesting that this best 
of spelling checkers also has the best price, 
and from an unexpected publisher, IBM itself. 
The attractions are many. In a field where 
number of words in the dictionary is critical, 
WORD PROOF has a whopping 125,000. It's 
exceptionally easy to use. The bonus of 
synonym-checking is worth twice the price of 
the program. And WORD PROOF does its own 
rudimentary word processing, so you can 
finish doctoring a document with the program 
and print right out. 

You pull up a text file (created with your 
regular word processor) and ask WORD 
PROOF to spell-check it— all done with simple 
menu commands. Your text is displayed, and 
if there's any word the program has doubts 
about, it stops and highlights the word. You 
can ask for a windowed list of possible correct 

spellings, cursor to one you like, and it'll 
instantly replace the incorrect one in the text, 
while the program goes on to the next word it 
doesn't recognize. You can get the same 
service by placing the cursor on any word in 
your text and asking (fs) about it. Likewise, 
put in the Synonyms disk, cursor to a word, 
punch F4, and you get a list of closely related 
words; indicate the one you like, it's instantly 
inserted, and on you go; I find this 
miraculous (supernatural, fabulous). No other 
spellers do it. 

Most misspellings are actually typos. Spelling 
checkers catch both. What they can't catch is 
words disguised as other words— "than" or 
"the" instead of "then," for example. 

WORD PROOF doesn't work with all word 
processors. Of the ones we recommend on 
the IBM, WORD PROOF works beautifully 
it works only in ASCII or DOS file mode with 
and MICROSOFT WORD; and it works not at 
all with PFS:WRITE. 

Ubiquitous . . . 

Wayne Holder; version 1.21; CP/M-80 and CP/M-86 
machines « PC/MS-DOS machines; 64K; copy- 
protected? NO; $150; 

Wayne Holder; version 1.21; CP/M-80 and CP/M-86 
machines « PC/MS-DOS machines; 64K; 2 disk 
drives recommended; copy-protected? NO; $125; 

both from Oasis Systems, 7907 Ostrow St., San 
Diego, CA 92111; 619/279-5711. 

thing of beauty: simple, fast, accurate. The 
"Plus" part refers to a smorgasbord of 
writing aid programs that come with the 
spelling checker, including a tool for 
automatically hyphenating words, programs 
that help you solve crossword puzzles and 
jumbled word games, a general purpose 
word-counting utility, a program that locates 
and marks homonyms ("there," "their," 
"they're") in your text so you can decide if 

you used the write (rite, right) one, and a tool 
that keeps track of how many times each 
word appears in your document. Word count 
is indispensable. 

The spell check program is a masterpiece. It 
is small enough to fit on the same disk with 
programs, so I do not have to change disks to 
use it. Despite this, it has a 45,000 word 
dictionary, and it's faster than most— 11/2 
minutes to check a 1500-word file. 

much like WORD PROOF, except it's slower 
and feels a little more laborious. You have to 
ask it to show context of a questioned word, 
and it only shows a line, which often isn't 
enough for comfort. Of the word processing 
programs we've recommended, THE WORD 

STYLE is by the same author The 

PUNCTUATION part catches errors in 
punctuation and other inaccuracies, such as 
incorrect abbreviations, missing capitals at 
the beginning of sentences, repeated words 
(Paris in the the Spring), mixed upper and 
lower case letters (THe— it has a hell of a time 
with software names like WordStar and 
DesQ), unclosed parentheses, and misused 
numbers. The STYLE part has a list of 
phrases that are commonly misused in 
writing— cliches and phrases which are 
"awkward, erroneous, folksy muddy 
pompous, redundant, or wordy" Wayne 
Holder understands good writing and helps 
you achieve it. 

STEWART BRAND: I have a feeling that word 
processing is encouraging sloppy writing, 
because it is so damned easy This program is 
an antidote, embarrassing sometimes, but 
bracing. I don't think I've generated a single 
document over 200 words that didn't benefit 
from Holder's attention. If I now said 
something [necessitated] something. Holder 
would put brackets around it and suggest 




:>ii^^:^S)^A ra!/'^-ii;-4e-'Aij5JA.U*-^'.-:^.-;7Vjj; ; 


STEWART BRAND: Other spellers. WORD- 
STAR has a companion, CORREGTSTAR, 
65,000 words, $195 (from MicroPro, p. 56), 
only on 16-bit machines like IBM, not 8-bit 
CP/M, doesn't work with NEWWORD. Its 
special talent is finding words by sound. 
Woody Liswood: "That means you can type 
in the word as it sounds while you are typing 
and let CORREGTSTAR find the correct 
spelling for you later. It also reformats the 
file for you as it goes along, so you don't 
have to go back and do it later." 

On Apple II + , lie, lie the popular speller is 
SENSIBLE SPELLER, 80,000 words, $125 
(Sensible Software, Inc., 210 S. Woodward, 
Suite 229, Birmingham, Ml 48011; 
313/258-5566). It's good, but of our 
recommended word processors on the 
Apple, it only works with APPLEWORKS and 
HOMEWORD, not with PFS: WRITE or 

On the Macintosh the speller for both 
HAYDEN SPELLER, only 20,000 words 
($79.95; Hayden Software Go., 600 Suffolk 
St., Lowell, MA 01853; 800/343-1218 or, in 
MA, 617/937-0200). 

And now for something completely different 
(that revels in differences) . . . 

JONATHAN SAGHS: People who work with 
large, frequently revised documents often 
must keep track of the changes they make. 
For example, a writer may have to prepare a 

Customize your writing tool . . . 

Improve Your Writing with Word Processing, 
David F. and Virginia Noble; 1984; 416 pp.; 
$12.95; Que Corporation, 7999 Knue Rd., 
Indianapolis, IN 46250; 800/428-5331 or, in IN, 
317/842-7162; or COMPUTER LITERACY. 

GHARLES SPEZZANO: Many of us approach 
word processing as spectators. The 
programmers have set up the editing 
procedures. We press the buttons and watch 
the magic. Most word processors, however, 
can be customized into more of a glove fit 
with each writer's style through the use of 
keyboard macros, a series of frequently used 
keystrokes that are entered once and then 
executed when needed by pressing one or 
two keys. 

The Nobles take this little time-saving trick, 
popularized by such keyboard changing 
programs as PROKEY and SMARTKEY 
(p. 174), and extend it into an art form. They 
supply detailed instructions for creating 

summary of all the significant changes in a 
new edition of a manual. Or an editor may 
want to know what a writer has changed 
between two drafts of a manuscript. For 
these tasks GOMPARE II can be a major time 
saver. Many features add to its usefulness. It 
can write the summary of changes to a file. 
It can display the changed parts of the two 
files one after the other or side by side, or it 
can reproduce one file with "change bars" in 
the left margin to indicate where the other 
file differs. Available for GP/M-80, GP/M-86, 
PC DOS and MS-DOS, $145 (Solution 
Technology, Inc., 1900 N.W. Corporate 
Blvd., Suite 400, Boca Raton, FL 33431; 

STEWART BRAND: If you like shortcuts you 
will love keyboard enhancers like PROKEY 
3.0 and SMARTKEY (both p. 174). Nothing 
so tailors your machine and your software to 
your own work habits. Anything repetitive in 
your routine— sets of words, sequences of 
commands, or both— can be tucked under a 
single key and gleefully evoked by just 
touching it. Feels like money in the bank 
every time. 

Creative use of outlining, for many of us only 
a grim memory from 7th Grade, is making a 
big comeback on computers, thanks to 
THINKTANK (p. 92). An all-in-one has been 
built around the outline idea, with a capable 
word processor as well as database and 
spreadsheet included— FRAMEWORK 
(p. 110). For general mucking about in your 
text files in supremely organized fashion, 
check out the databases that Tony Fanning 
calls "garbage bags"— DATAFAX (p. 91) and 
SUPERFILE (p. 91). 

macros to move the cursor by sentences; 
mark and highlight a sentence as a block; 
semi-automatically reform a paragraph or the 
whole file; break a paragraph into sentences 
for easier analysis and revision, and then 
rebuild the paragraph; transpose two 
characters or words or sentences; globally 
remove carriage returns (a great help for 
telecommunicating files); and more. 

In addition to specific instructions for 
WORDSTAR-PROKEY users, they also 
devote a chapter to implementing similar 
systems of macros with PEACHTEXT 5000, 
Sufficiently motivated users of other 
programs could adapt the procedures to 
their own word processor since the macros 
are as much conceptual as technical 
creatures and can, therefore, move easily 
from realm to realm. 

Like Pirsig with his Zen motorcycle, I am 
convinced that each word processor has a 
personality which is not fixed by its creator, 
but rather can be defined as "the intuitive 

Finding the better word . . . 


Most PC/MS-DOS macliines ® Most CP/M 
machines; 30K; copy-protected? NO; $79.95 
(special introductory offer); Writing Consultants, 
300 Main St., East Rochester, NY 14445; 
800/828-6293 or, in NY, 716/377-0130. 

STEWART BRAND: Here's an improvement 
on the synonym-finder in WORD PROOF; 
you can use it while you're writing. You load 
WORD FINDER before you load your regular 
word processor (PFS:WRITE, MULTIMATE, 
perhaps others; phone them). Commence 
writing. When your eyes start searching the 
ceiling for a better word, hit the proper 
command and a window will appear with a 
list of synonyms for the word the cursor is 
on. Pick the alternate word you prefer, hit 
RETURN, and the new one goes in, even with 
correct capitalization intact. A boon for those 
of us with word tics ("spiffy" used to 
describe everything from a wallet to a 
philosophy). It might help thought— what are 
you getting at with that sentence? Soon we'll 
have word randomizers to further stimulate 

sum total" of everything the user knows 
about it, feels about it, and can do with it. 
This book lets you redefine a word 
processor's personality and may, therefore, 
save a marriage between user and program 
that is threatened by all the fancy newer 
packages. In fact, this book starts a genre of 
its own, the guides to creative (rather than 
just efficient) word processing. Most writers 
who have sunk two to five grand in a word 
processing system will milk their investment 
more thoroughly with the Nobles' advice at 


Woody Liswood, Domain Editor 

WOODY LISWOOD: Analyzing is probably what most of us think 
of when we think of computers. Why were computers 
"invented" in the first place? Answer: To manipulate and analyze 
large amounts of data in short periods of time. 


The spreadsheet, or "calc" program, has been credited with 
creating the microcomputer marketplace. Prior to the 
introduction of VISICALC on the Apple computer in 1979 by Dan 
Bricklin, Bob Frankston, and Dan Fylstra, most microcomputers 
were thought of simply as game machines or machines only 
computer programmers owned and understood. Many folks 
credit the rise of Apple Computer to its predominant position in 
the micro world to the fact that VISICALC, when first released, 
was available only on Apples. 

Spreadsheets can help you analyze any data that can be 
displayed in a row and column format. In addition to using the 
accountants' tools such as balance sheets, income statements, 
and profit-and-loss statements, with a calc program you can do 
regression analysis, correlation, and other statistical functions. 
You can derive and predict salary costs and merit budgets for 
home and business. If you think of a single file in a calc program 
as identical to a single page in a multiple-page report from a 
database, your micro can duplicate many complicated 
mainframe computer database reports as a series of identical 
spreadsheet applications. 

The bottom line is this: The uses of spreadsheets keep growing 
as "limits" are stretched by new programs and new versions of 
old programs. 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: Making the jump from budget charts on 
paper to, most likely, the same form on a microcomputer takes 
little imagination, learning, or adjustment, and the advantages 
are obvious. Typists no longer need a gallon of White-Out to 
correct a 30-page financial report because a change in one 
column affected rows of results. Analysts, managers, small- 
business owners, salespeople, and household budgeters can 
wonder "What if": ... I reduced my expenses in July by $2000? 
... the loan rate were 12.3% amortized over 18 years rather 
than 13.4% amortized for 12? . . . it takes 56 people 35 hours a 
week to do the job in 43 working days and I have only 31 
available? Plug in the numbers and get instant answers. Playing 
"What if?" is more fascinating and lively than a lot of computer 

WOODY LISWOOD: When we started looking for spreadsheets 
to review and analyze, we came up with more than 35 products 
during the first go-through, including some public domain 
programs (pp. 25-27). One fact emerged. Even though they all 
work and do about the same thing, even though there are more 
similarities among them than differences, and even though they 
all generate fierce loyalties in their users, they also differ 
significantly in style, memory capacity, speed of operation, and 
data management capabilities. Our recommendations are based 
on these differences. 

Statisties Progrsms 

Looking for statistics programs is not as complicated as looking 
for spreadsheets. There are fewer of them and they are so 
specialized that I doubt anyone would want one who did not 
already have some idea of what to do with them. These 
programs take data that you enter either directly or from a 
database or spreadsheet, and then perform various statistical 
tests to help you answer questions about the data and the 
relationships within the data. Before you buy a statistics 
program, read the documentation and sales literature carefully 
to be sure the program has exactly the capabilities you need. 

Stmk Market Prog tarns 

MATTHEW MCCLURE: Although no one really knows whether 
any kind of analysis is consistently effective at predicting stock 
performance, more than a dozen "systems" have one feature or 
another to recommend them, making them useful to 
professional investors and occasional dabblers. Most let you use 
data downloaded from networks (pp. 142-145), which saves lots 
of data-entry time. And most use only one or two methods of 
analysis. WINNING ON WALL STREET (p. 77) employs most of 
the popular methods. Be cautious— none of the methods is 
foolproof, and although these programs may help you rise above 
the novice level, they won't turn you into a pro. 

WOODY LISWOOD: Any time you're working primarily with 
numbers, you should have a keyboard with a numeric keypad as 
well as four arrow keys. That means the worst keyboards for 
calc programs are the ones that come with the IBM PC, the 
Apple II family, and the Macintosh. On the IBM PC keyboard, the 
arrow keys are on the number keypad, so you can't use both at 
once. You have to toggle a separate key to activate either the 
numbers or the arrows. The Apple II has only left-right, not up- 
down arrows, and it has no keypad. The Apple He and lie have 
arrow keys but no keypad. The Macintosh has no arrow keys or 
keypad (I'm not sure that for real number crunching the mouse 
is better than arrow keys). A keypad can be purchased 
separately ($99) for all the Apples. For the IBM PC, the Key 
Tronic keyboard ($255) with separate number pad and arrows 
would be appropriate. 

The amount of RAM memory in your computer determines the 
maximum size of your spreadsheet (the number of rows, 
columns, and formulas). How big is your application? If you are 
contemplating no more than, say, 60 rows by 250 columns, you 
might like CP/M-based programs on 8-bit (Z-80) computers like 
the Kaypro 2, 4 or 10, and the Morrow Micro-Decision. However, 
to me, after a few weeks a spreadsheet of this size seems more 
like a scratchpad than a full-size calc program. Apple and IBM 
PC computers both allow larger memories and spreadsheets, 
but here you run into a different limitation. What good is a 512K 
spreadsheet in RAM when you can only store 360K on your 
floppy disk? If you have an Apple III with 256K, you can easily 
create a spreadsheet that exceeds the 160K available on the disk. 
When you get to these large-size applications, you need a hard 
disk drive. You want your storage capability to exceed the 
maximum size of your model and to hold, together on one 
logical drive, all the spreadsheets that make up your application. 

' 7¥J';M4:'smM4S^MM?M:»J=^^*Mmi'^MMmmBmm^&mmmms \ 

STEWART BRAND: Spreadsheet programs have given me 
this peculiar vision of civilization. What I find new and 
wonderful about computerized spreadsheets is that you can 
have a vast array of meaningful numbers, and all the 
numbers know about each other. Change any one of them, 
and they all adjust immediately. They're positively ecological 
in that. The same goes for economies. Increasingly, all the 
numbers in the world know about each other. The value of 
your stock knows about the amount of change in my pocket 
as well as the turns of war in the Sudan and the quality of 
growing seasons in Colombia. The change in my pocket is 
ever alert to what you're deciding not to buy this week. 

Computers are in the thick of that. A study I keep waiting for 
is a productivity analysis of what personal computers have 
done for the national economy in the last couple years— 
without any government intervention or even policy (except 
the decades of military research that invented the field in the 
first place— and the defending of patent rights). Some say 
that half of all IBM PCs, in their hundreds of thousands, 
are running just 1-2-3. Numbers— clever, quick, 
knowledgeable— boiling the stupidity out of countless 
business decisions. Interesting how essential the quickness 
is. It's 1-2-3's speed that put it on top. 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: Woody Liswood has been using 
spreadsheet programs since the first month VISICALC 
appeared on the market and he's used nearly every 

wm fflEEii mm mm 

WOODY LISWOOD: I've picked SUPERCALC3, Release 2, as 
the current winner of the spreadsheet wars in part because it 
allows 9999 possible rows of data per worksheet. 

Most folks think of spreadsheets only in accounting terms, but 
there are many more uses for spreadsheets than the typical 
ones like balance sheets, expense reports, and income 
statements; and some applications require a large number of 
rows rather than a large number of columns. Mine do. 
Multitudes of rows are also necessary for tracking stocks, 
inventory control— anytime you have a long list of items or 
many lookup tables. 

I use spreadsheet programs to do all the analysis for job 
evaluation installations. The matrix I use contains several 
lookup tables, job evaluation information, and often 1000 rows 
of information relating to 1000 job titles. With a large 
spreadsheet program, I can have all this information on one 
worksheet. The worksheet becomes a miniature database 
system which shows all of the data on the screen as I enter 
and manipulate it; and the file-management capabilities 
included with 1-2-3 and SUPERCALC3 let me sort through, 
find, and rearrange the data even on immense worksheets. 

spreadsheet program that's shown up since. He needs them 
for his business— a senior consultant with A.S. Hansen, Inc. 
(Larkspur, CA), he's one of the few "Certified Compensation 
Professionals" in the country, his specialty being "pay 
delivery systems" for corporations. 

With spreadsheet and 
statistics programs he sets up 
complicated models for job 
evaluations, salary planning 
surveys, regression 
analysis— and anything else 
he can think of. Since he 
recommends different 
computers and spreadsheet 
programs for different clients' 
needs, he has to learn and 
teach them all. He was a 
contributing editor for Apple 
Orchard magazine, where his 
reviews of a wide range of 
Apple software appeared 
monthly, has his own product review magazine on The 
Source (key in public direct ii6) (p. 141), writes for Portable 
100, has written a book, Human Resources Information 
Systems, A Micro Computer Approach, published by 
Potentials Group, Inc., in Cupertino, California, and teaches 
a graduate compensation course at Golden Gate University 
where he's Adjunct Professor. 

Woody Liswood 


One of the best features of the spreadsheet market is the 
multitude of books containing instructions and sample 
worksheet models. There are books about 1-2-3, VISICALC, 
SUPERCALC, and MULTIPLAN, as well as others. But you 
really don't need to purchase a book written specifically for 
your program to get good use from its worksheet models. 
For example, all the recommended spreadsheet programs 
use some type of code to indicate a range of cells— say, A1 , 
A2, A3, A4, and A5. In VISICALC you use three dots to 
simplify the entry (A1 . . . A5); in SUPERCALC, a colon 
(A1:A5); in 1-2-3, two dots (A1 . . A5). Since the logic is 
similar, you can take examples from a book written for 
VISICALC and simply substitute the correct codes for the 
spreadsheet program you're using. 

If a book has a model you find interesting, try it. You'll find 
it better using the tools, techniques, and tips mentioned in 
these books than spending hours with the program trying to 
self-discover those same devices. 

— Woody Liswood 



-.■ 'tfe-.:-7'?.--i.'. 


Comparing the Bl§ flwm 

WOODY LISWOOD: With some nostalgic regret, we have 
dropped VISICALC, the first microcomputer spreadsheet, from 
the Catalog. VISICALC has been outdistanced and outclassed 
by the second and third generation spreadsheets. It is still 
workable, but for serious spreadsheeting there are now better 
and more flexible products. 

When you need big features— a gigantic number of rows, 
sophisticated math, the ability to use the same program on a 
variety of machines, integrated graphics, or data management 
capabilities— you'll want to consider 1-2-3 (p. 68), 
SUPERCALC3 (p. 67), and MULTIPLAN (p. 70). Many people 
use more than one spreadsheet program. 

Gl§mile number of mws, s§phistieated math 

As far as spreadsheets go, I continue to be impressed with 
SUPERCALC3. Release 2 now allows 9999 rows per 
worksheet. SYMPHONY (p. 111), the 1-2-3 "all-in-one" 
upgrade, has as many, but it's a memory hog— you need 
about 240K more RAM to run the same size worksheet; 1-2-3 
is easier on memory but it's limited to 2080 rows per 
worksheet. In addition, SUPERCALC3 doesn't store blank cells, 
which means more RAM memory is available for data- 
something neither Lotus product can lay claim to. For these 
reasons and because it isn't copy-protected (unlike 1-2-3), I 
think it's the best spreadsheet buy for the PC/MS-DOS worlds. 

1-2-3 has replaced VISICALC as the spreadsheet standard. It is 
the most talked-about program today and has the most 
support in terms of books written about it, and templates that 
work with it, and even has a magazine devoted to it. I think it's 
the best spreadsheet program, with the exception of 
SYMPHONY'S spreadsheet, and will recommend it over 
SUPERCALC3 when 1-2-3 does a better job of memory 
management— assuming that by then SUPERCALC3 hasn't 
come up with better features. The race goes on. 

Ifitef ratetf graphiss aiirf Ma management 

1-2-3 was the first program to integrate graphics and 
spreadsheet data; SUPERCALC soon added graphics with a 
version called SUPERCALC3. Many folks feel that the graphics 
in SUPERCALC3 are far better than those produced by 1-2-3, 
and unlike 1-2-3, SUPERCALC3 does not require a graphics 
board on an IBM PC. The Drawing section (pp. 122-137) has 
reviews of programs that produce graphics— often better than 
the graphics integrated within spreadsheet programs— using 
data from almost any spreadsheet program. 

Both SUPERCALC3 and 1-2-3 have some data-management 
capabilities. This translates into "they can sort and find a 
specified range of data." If you need data-management 
capabilities, you should look at an all-in-one or integrated 
package (see the Managing section, pp. 106-121), or plan to 
transfer data from a database program to a spreadsheet 
program (see p. 72). 

Ease §f use 

1-2-3 and MULTIPLAN have a good menu-tree structure, so 
you don't have to memorize a large number of commands. 
SUPERCALC runs from a command line (called up by typing a 
slash), which allows you to get to its functions without paging 
through a menu. MULTIPLAN on the Mac is as easy as all other 
Mac software. 

If you are using a computer other than an IBM PC (or MS-DOS), 
you'll be limited to 255 rows in your spreadsheet. However, 
some programs let you link worksheets, so in effect you can 
work with more data than the size of one spreadsheet allows. 
MULTIPLAN (p. 70) shines in its ability to consolidate 

Using the same program on many machines 

If you use more than one machine now, or if you have a low- 
priced machine and want a spreadsheet that will be available on 
a higher-priced machine you might buy later, consider 


I'^f^ Wi//|j1rili|iJ|M| 

A number of integrated, all-in-one packages have 
appeared on the market, most of which include 
spreadsheet programs. If the spreadsheet portion of an 
all-in-one is the most important part of the package for 
you, and you're in the IBM PC world, you should 
consider ENABLE (p. 109) or SYMPHONY (p. Ill), the 
"all-in-one" upgrade of 1-2-3. In the Apple II world, the 
best "all-in-one" is APPLEWORKS (p. 108). If you're 
looking for a spreadsheet program that's part of a family 
of products that work nicely with one another, consider 
the SMART (p. 112) series. 

VISICALC should stand with the printing 
press, the steam engine, the harnessing of 
electricity, the developnnent of immunizing 
agents for virulent diseases, and with 
computers in general and the microcomputer 
specifically as a milestone along the path of 

—Al Tommervik, Softall 

VISICALC represented a new idea of a way to 
use a computer and a new way of thinking 
about the world. Where conventional 
programming was thought of as a sequence 
of steps, this new thing was no longer 
sequential in effect: When you made a change 
in one place, all other things changed 
instantly and automatically. 

— Ted Nelson 

A program should be self-evident. You look at 
it and you know what to do. Spreadsheets like 
VISICALC are the classic example. All you 
need is a crib sheet for commands and you 
can fumble around nicely 

— Richard Dalton 


Now better ttian ever . . . 



Version 2.0; IBM PC/XT compatibles; 96K 
required, 128K recommended ® Tl Professional; 
128K; copy-protected? NO; $395; 

Version 1.0; all CP/M machines; CP/M-80; 48K 
required, 64K recommended s CP/M-86, PC DOS 
and MS-DOS machines; 64K required, 128K 
recommended; copy-protected? NO; $295; 

Version 1.12; all CP/M machines; CP/M-80; 48K 
required, 64K recommended » CP/M-86, PC DOS 
and MS-DOS machines; 64K required, 128K 
recommended; copy-protected? NO; $195; 

all from Sorcim/IUS Corp., 2195 Fortune Dr., San 
Jose, CA 95131; 408/942-1727. 

right at home with SUPERCALC3, Sorcim's 
latest addition to the bewildering array of 
spreadsheets on the market. It has the same 
straightforward simplicity as SUPERCALC, 
plus integrated graphics that make it a worthy 
competitor of 1-2-3 (p. 68). Spreadsheets 
created by SUPERCALC, SUPERCALC2, or 
SUPERCALC3 load and operate with no 
changes from one version to the other. 

The graphics are delightfully easy to use. One 
keystroke switches from spreadsheet to 
graph on the screen, so you can see your 
graph as you build it. Unlike 1-2-3, 
SUPERCALC3 does not require a graphics 
board to have this capability on an IBM PC. 

The user manual, which contains ten lessons 
for the beginner, is remarkably good. In 
general, the program is straightforward and 
easy to use. Sophisticated users {i.e., 
programmers-at-heart) will prefer the 
complexity and elegance of 1-2-3. 

WOODY LISWOOO: I have switched my 
spreadsheet work from 1-2-3 (p. 68) to 
SUPERCALC3, Release 2, rather than move 
up to SYMPHONY (p. 111), because of the 
extra rows (9999) and the way in which 
SUPERCALC manages memory. Because 
SUPERCALC3 doesn't store space for 
unused cells on the worksheet, I can design 
my worksheets to suit my personality 
without constraint. Before, always concerned 
about getting maximum usage from large 
models, I had to worry about the size of the 
rectangle and whether the extra memory 
required for a blank line of unused cells was 
worth the gain in visual clarity. 

Release 2 of SUPERCALC3 has quite good 
graphics, supports the 8087 math chip 
(which speeds up calculations) and, like the 
other versions of SUPERCALC, is not copy- 
protected. 1-2-3 and SYMPHONY on the 
other hand, are copy-protected and require a 
key disk in drive A to start up the programs. 
A definite, daily hassle if you frequently use 

more than one software program 
particularly if you are using a hani (II'.k 

In addition, SUPERCALC3, ReleaM; :' corm:.. 
with two programs that will make V(uii liti- 
much easier. SIDEWAYS (p. 69) prints ynur 
worksheet lengthwise across a miilntuni; ol 
sheets of paper. Since it comes conlKiudMi 
for SUPERCALC3, you don't havn :ii timl 
around trying to find the correct variables lo 
use when printing your file to disk. The 
second program is called SUPER DATA 
EXCHANGE (SDI). SDI converts files from 
almost any other database into SUPERCALC3 
files, and vice versa; and it translates 
formulas and data from other spreadsheets 
into SUPERCALC3 files so you can switch 
from other spreadsheets and bring your old 
worksheets along. 

If you need a very good spreadsheet and 
don't want the clutter and nonsense of 
SYMPHONY try SUPERCALC3, Release 2. 
The newly released SUPERCALC3a for the 
Apple lie and Enhanced lie ($195) has fewer 
rows than its MS-DOS cousin, but is 
otherwise quite similar and a very good 

features include ones typically found in 
spreadsheet programs: automatic 
recalculation, replication (copies formulas), 
cell protection, formatting for dollar amounts, 
whole numbers and scientific notation, and 
the ability to have two parts of the 
spreadsheet onscreen at the same time (in 
windows). Formulas include arithmetic (add, 
multiply, divide, subtract), exponentiation 
(raise to a power), and relational operators 
(equal to, not equal to, less than, greater 
than, and so on). Also, it lets you combine 
formulas with conditional expressions (or, 
and, not, and if). Among the built-in functions 
are ones that let you calculate absolute value, 
net present value, averages, counts, 
exponential value, logarithms, maximum, 
minimum, sine, cosine, tangents, 
arctangents, square roots, and pi. It gives 
you a maximum of 63 columns and 254 rows 
per worksheet. 

SUPERCALC2 has all the features and 
functions of SUPERCALC plus formatting 
options for a floating dollar sign, imbedded 
commas, macro capability, bracketed 
negative numbers, and zero amounts 
expressed as blank cells. SUPERCALC2 can 
sort by column or row, can consolidate total 
spreadsheets or parts of spreadsheets, and 
has date and calendar functions. 

SUPERCALC3 has all the features of 
SUPERCALC2 plus graphics and data 

The data management, like that of 1-2-3, 
means, as Woody says, that it can sort data 
and find data. 

Data entered into a SUPERCALC2 spreadslieet 
(middle screen) can be easily transferred to 
SUPERCALC3 when you upgrade. SC3's graphics 
capabilities allow you to graph one row's 
performance month by month. 


Change one or two numbers, and calculate an 
entire set of salary ranges for your company Data 
is entered in the MidPoint column. Then you select 
the starting percentage for your range spread as 
well as the percentage difference between 
adjacent spreads. SUPEHCALC3 does all the rest. 



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Lots of rows, the premium multifunction 
package . . . 

Version 1A; IBM PC/XT/AT compatibles ® IBM PCjr 
® IBM 3270 PC ® MS-DOS machines; 192K; 
graphics board required for graphics; 2 disk drives 
or hard disk; $495; copy-protected? YES; Lotus 
Development Corp., 55 Cambridge Pkwy., 
Cambridge, MA 02142; 617/253-9150. 

SALLY GOHLIEB: This program hit the top of 
the best-selling software list shortly after its 
introduction in late 1982, and stayed there 
throughout most of 1983 and 1984, with good 
reason. It was the first spreadsheet program 
to include graphics capabilities along with 
many powerful features such as large 
spreadsheet size, consolidation of spread- 
sheets, many built-in math functions. It also 
had a macro feature (so you can type in a 
series of commands, save them, and then do 
the whole command sequence again at any 
time by pressing one key on the keyboard). 
It's also one of the fastest spreadsheet 
programs on the market. 

The ads bill this program as an "integrated 
spreadsheet, database and graphics 
package." Buyer beware! Although 1-2-3's 
database allows simple sorting and selection, 
it has no true report generator, data entry or 
data validation functions. It's a stretch to call 
this a database. (See the Organizing section 
for recommended database managers 
[pp. 85-89].) Likewise, the graphics are 
crude compared to those of most graphics 
packages on the market and require a 
graphics board in the IBM PC. 










1-2-3 has a versatile spreadsheet with variable 
column widths. A printout of this cash-llow 
analysis is on the lollowing page. 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: For number people, 
standard IBM PC monochrome monitors have 
better character resolution than color 
monitors— but this configuration rarely 
includes a graphics board. IBM PCs with 
color monitors do have a graphics board. 
Compaqs have graphics capability as 
standard equipment. 

SALLY GOHLIEB: 1-2-3 has a very good 
online tutorial, which helps ease a beginner 
into its many features. Although menu- 
driven, 1-2-3 is a complex program. If you 
have a secret hankering to be a programmer, 
you will love the tricks you can play with the 
macro feature. If you don't, you probably 
won't find much use for them. 

WOODY LISWOOD: I feel that 1-2-3 has one 
funny anomaly. When moving rows or 
columns of data, the program writes the new 
data on top of any found in the new column or 
row, and the old data is lost. Other programs, 
when moving data, push aside the old to 
make room for the new, and preserve both. 
When you first use 1-2-3, you will make the 
mistake of moving data without first creating 
a space. After overwriting some data once, 
however, you will probably never do it again. 

CHRIS WOLF: I have complaints about design 
features that work against the natural feel. 
The command menus in 1-2-3 exhibit 
inconsistent behavior. Sometimes when you 
complete a command sequence you wind up 
back in "ready" mode; other times you drop 
back one, two or three menu levels; still other 
times you stay exactly where you are and 
must quit explicitly to complete the sequence. 
Some menus have no "quit" option, so you 
have to press the escape key to go back one 
level. This is especially confusing for 

Any error that occurs in "command" mode 
drops you back to "ready" mode, and you 
have to go back through the menu tree to 
where you were to complete what you wanted 
to do— especially annoying if you simply 
make a typo in a cell, range, or file name 
where any decent program would tell you it 
was an error and let you try again. This is 
really rude behavior from a $500 package. 

The graphing feature in 1-2-3 is quite nice, 
but it just makes me wish it were better The 
biggest problem is the program's inability to 
draw dotted or dashed lines. 

DICK YORK: The thing that's missing from 
most financial statements is cash flow 
projections. With 1-2-3, 1 can do cash flow 
projections of the type usually only affordable 
by large corporations. These projections tell 
me what to expect; they also inspire 
confidence in potential lenders concerned 
with "ability to repay." This is particularly 
important when sources of income are 

I use graphs a great deal to look at 
relationships. I often don't even print them, 
but find the ability to simplify information 
valuable. Putting our consolidated cash 
receipts in the form of a pie chart shows 
sources of income and how the total is 
derived more clearly than a page full of 
numbers— lenders can see relationships and 
interrelationships easily. 

I also use 1-2-3 to keep track of cash flow for 
a portfolio of selected properties, since none 
of the property-analysis programs I've found 
will deal with more than one piece of property 
at a time. I take basic information from our 
tax returns (my CPA is about to get a modem, 
so soon, I hope, I won't have to re-enter all 
the data), then enter debt totals. The 
spreadsheet model shows rental income, 
expenses, debt service, and various rates of 
return evaluations; it produces a cash flow for 
the entire portfolio. When we're considering 
buying or selling a piece of property, I add it 
to (or subtract it from) the spreadsheet and 
immediately see how the proposed 
transaction affects the entire portfolio. 

The application pictured calculates how much 
rent I expect to receive from a business that 
leases a building from me and how much I'll 
owe on the land I lease from someone else. 
Since the amount of rent is based on gross 
receipts, my income and expenses vary from 
month to month. Using 1-2-3, 1 discovered 
what seems to be a very accurate way to 
predict my cash flow. When I entered monthly . 
receipts over a period of several years, 
divided each year's totals by each month in 
the year and looked at the results in a pie 
chart, I found to my surprise the pie charts 
for each year looked identical— it turned out 
that each month's percentage of the annual 
gross varied by less than a tenth of a percent 
each year May 1981 was 9.1%; so were May 
1982 and May 1983. With this information I 
can predict monthly and annual receipts with 
a fair degree of accuracy. 

Of course, as we get further into the year, 
these projections become more accurate. 
Meanwhile, I have an ongoing picture of how 
much rent I'll owe and how much they'll owe 
me, and I can compare this year's projections 
to last year's figures to find the percentage of 
increase or decrease. With this information, I 
can compare sales per year to the inflation 
rate and chart the comparisons with a line 
graph. I also look at how the business is 
doing compared to the cost-of-living index 
and gross national product. 

WOODY LISWOOD: Lotus has promised an 
upgrade to 1-2-3 this fall. The upgrade, they 
promise, will manage memory more 
efficiently, support 8087 and 80287 
coprocessors and the Intel Above Board's 
extra memory, give access to DOS from 
within a program, and be more compatible 





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D/a YOm: I use SIDEWAYS to print tlie 
spreadslteet, and it does exactly what its name 
implies: prints the spreadsheet sideways on 
continuous form paper, so the spreadsheet can 
have as many columns as you want. The database 
for this property has five years of information so 
far. It's a 20-year lease and I expect to keep adding 
information for the next 15 years, and keep 
printing the added columns with no problems. 
SIDEWAYS doesn't print the graph, but I rotate it 
270 degrees in 1-2-3 to match the printout. 

Easy rider . . . 

Version 1.5. Copy-protected. $39.95. IBM PC/XT/ 
AT and compatibles; IBM PCjr; Tl Professional. 
Nostradamus, 5320 South 900 East, Suite 110, 
Salt Lake City, UT 84117; 801/261-0769. 

WOODY LISWOOO: Copy-protected 
programs like 1-2-3 that let you load their 
software onto your hard disk but require that 
you put a program (or key) disk in Drive A to 
run the program are a hassle. 

HARDRUNNER to the rescue! Put the 
HARDRUNNER disk in drive A, log on to the 
root directory on the hard disk, and type 
HARDRUN. A few seconds later there is a 
small 384-byte ".COM" file on your hard 
disk. Now re-boot and you'll find that your 
1-2-3 or SYMPHONY files boot without a 
disk in Drive A. 

HARDRUNNER works fine on my COMPAQ 
equipped with 640K of memory and an AST 
board with the Super Driver RAM disk 
program. And it works with my STB board, 
but not with the accompanying PCA 
program. So, if you think you need this 
program, call the company to be sure it will 
work with your particular equipment 
configuration before buying it. 

Columns unlimited . . . 

Version 2.01; IBM PC compatibles; 64K o Apple II 
family; 48K e Toshiba o Tl Professional and others 
• IBM, Epson, Okidata, Prism, ProWriter, and 
most popular dot matrix graphics printers; copy- 
protected? NO; $60; Funk Software, Inc., P.O. Box 
1290, Cambridge, MA 02238; 617/497-6339. 

matrix printer to print your spreadsheet or 
other ASCII text file sideways down multiple 
sheets of paper. It works quickly and easily 
and is a must if you are continually trying to 
print worksheets that are wider than your 
paper. SIDEWAYS eliminates having to do 
lots of cutting and pasting—and it helps to 
know as you begin designing a worksheet 
that you'll be able to print it all in one piece, 
no matter how many columns wide it is. 
(You'll be back to cutting and pasting, 
however, if your worksheet has an enormous 
number of rows as well. I use it with my 
Okidata 93 dot matrix printer and am able to 
print worksheets 100 rows deep.) 

Monthly support . . . 


$18/yr (12 issues) or 6 month free trial 
subscription to registered owners of Lotus 
software. Subscriber Services Manager, LOTUS 
Magazine, 55 Cambridge Pkwy., Cambridge, MA 
02142; 617/253-9150. 

WOODY LISWOOD: LOTUS, a magazine for 
1-2-3 and SYMPHONY (p. Ill) users, is on 
the market. Published by Lotus itself, it 
contains good information, lots of 
advertising for 1-2-3 and SYMPHONY add- 
ons, and appears to be straight information 
rather than puff press pablum. If you use 
1-2-3 or SYMPHONY, this will be a welcome 
addition to your reading habits. 








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m. mmm bah 

f s miis D aim 

Learning . . . 

Be liR)^ PC 3BIQ1=2=3 

The IBM PC and 1-2-3; James E. Kelley, Jr.; 1983; 
306 pp.; $39.95; Banbury Books, 353 West 
Lancaster Ave., Wayne, PA 19087; 215/964-9101; 

WOODY LISWOOD: I found more tips and 
lucid explanations about 1-2-3 in this book 
than I ever expected I could find anywhere. If 
1-2-3 drives you crazy with its multitude of 
commands and its vast potential, this book 
presents the features, along with samples on 
a disk of the functions, that are somewhat 
arcanely explained in the 1-2-3 documen- 
tation. The disk contains, among other 
things, a project-scheduling template, which 
shows you how to do critical-path scheduling 
without having to purchase that type of 
program. That alone makes this book 
extremely valuable for the business user. (For 
other scheduling programs and project- 
management programs, see Managing, 
pp. 106-121.) 

multitudes of templates— programs 
written with 1-2-3 commands for 
particular applications— available for 
people who don't have the time to do 
the programming themselves. 
Option Ware Incorporated (Bloomfield, 
CT) makes the best— and probably the 
most, with more than 50 applications 
available. I've used and like their 
Consolidated Manpower and Expenses, 
Department Budgets, Department 
Budgets History and Department 
Budget Projections applications. 
They're all menu-driven and run in 



Best at consolidating worlcsheets . . . 

Apple II family; 64K; $95 ® Apple III ® CP/M-80 
(with SoftCard System); 128K; other CP/M-80 
machines; 56K ® IBM PC compatibles and MS- 
DOS machines; 64K ® Macintosh; 1 disk drive; 
copy-protected? YES; $195; Microsoft Corporation, 
10700 Northup Way, Box 97200, Bellevue, WA 
98009; 206/828-8080. 

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k salary plan determines the appropriate 
percentage merit budget for a coming year. Not a 
lot of work after you have things setup. After you 
enter the regulred data, you change the market 
movement assumption and this MULTIPLAN 
spreadsheet will tell you the appropriate merit 
budget needed for that set of employees. 

Cindy Craig used MULTIPLAN on the Mac to create 
a readable draft of the chart on pp. 50-51. She had 
never used a spreadsheet before. 

close runner-up to 1-2-3 (p. 68). It advertises 
Itself as a second-generation spreadsheet. It 
is available on almost all machines in almost 
all operating environments. Like 1-2-3, 
MULTIPLAN has a well thought-out menu 
structure, so you don't have to memorize 
slash commands as in VISICALC or 

There's one "feature" of MULTIPLAN, 
however, that I find abominable— the way it 
refers to cell locations. Most other programs 
designate rows and columns as numbers and 
letters, so you know when you are in cell A1 
(the junction of column A and row 1). So 
when you are in CI and want to reference A1 , 
you type A1. In MULTIPLAN, however, you 
keep track oi rows and ceils that way, but 
enter and keep all cell references in relative 
notation. This means that when you are in CI 
and want to refer to A1 , you must type C-2 
R— translation: "go back two columns and 

stay in the same row." Such expressions 
make it very difficult to read logic flows, so 
you always end up pointing with the cursor 
rather than typing in the relative location. 
MULTIPLAN shines, however, in its ability to 
consolidate worksheets. 

MULTIPLAN allows you to use alphabetic 
names for groups of data. So you might label 
the "results" column in a worksheet as 
RESULTS and then build a consolidated 
worksheet using the RESULTS from ten other 
worksheets. To do this, you would design the 
original ten worksheets, then design a 
consolidated worksheet that instructs 
MULTIPLAN to place the RESULTS column 
from each of those other worksheets in the 
correct column in the consolidated 
worksheet. What happens if you make 
changes in, say, three of the original 
worksheets? Load the consolidated 
worksheet and it automatically adjusts, 
using the new data. 

For the Apple II family . . . 

William Graves; Version 2.165; Apple II family; 
48K; copyprotected? YES; $99.95; ARTSCI, Inc., 
5547 Satsuma Ave., North Hollywood, CA 91601; 

William Graves; Apple II family; 48K « Apple III in 
emulation mode; copy-protected? NO; $65 to 
members only ($49 membership: $26/1st year 
dues, $23 initiation fee); A.P.RL.E., 290 S.W. 43rd 
St., Ronton, WA 98055; 206/251-5222. 

William Graves; Apple II family; 48K ® Apple III in 
emulation mode; copy-protected? NO; $39.95 for 
members (membership fee: $30), $49.95 for non- 
members; International Apple Core, 908 George 
St., Santa Clara, CA 95050; 408/727-7652. 

available from three different sources under 
three different names. The product is the 
same in all cases, but the price varies 
significantly. A.RRL.E. and International 
Apple Core have lower prices for paid 
members of their organizations. 

MAGICALC is very similar to the Apple DOS 
3.3 version of VISICALC and the original 
version of VISICALC for the IBM PC. 

MAGICALC can use VISICALC models and 
data files, which means the experienced 
VISICALC user can easily move from one 
program to the other without retyping entire 
models, although a few changes are 
sometimes required to move formulas from 

MAGICALC's menu offers Calculate (the 
spreadsheet program itself). File, Format, and 
Configuration subsystems, and the option of 
"Booting the next program." A spreadsheet 
can hold 16,002 cells (63 columns, 254 
rows), although unless you have 512K RAM 
memory, you can't access all the cells at 

MAGICALC has thirteen built-in math 
functions and seven built-in logic functions. It 
provides "Lookup," minimum and maximum 
value selection, and the use of "not, or, true, 
and not available" criteria for displaying 
values in particular cells. It has two built-in 
financial functions— Internal Rate of Return 
and Net Present Value— and no built-in date 

In addition to working well with VISICALC, 
MAGICALC's DIF files can be used by other 
Apple II programs, such as Apple II business 
graphics, DB MASTER (p. 83), and 
PFS:GRAPH, which saves keying data into 
other programs. 

It's an excellent spreadsheet program, 
offering the user more file handling and 
formatting options than the basic versions of 
VISICALC. However, MAGICALC has no built- 
in trigonometric functions; it can't display 70 
columns of characters without a video 
expansion card; nor can it be configured for 
80-column display on a number of video 
expansion cards. 

WOODY LISWOOD: MAGICALC, available in a 
number of incarnations, is the recommended 
program in the Apple DOS environment. It 
lacks some of the trigonometric functions of 
the original VISICALC program. However, for 
normal use it has most of what you will need 
as well as the advanced features found in the 
second-generation programs (variable 
column widths being the most important). 




Free for Model 100 owners , 


Comes on a chip . . . 

Li if^i w 0%^ 
III, III fc^ 

Version 1.5. Copy-protected. $149.95. TRS-80 
Model 100. Portable Computer Support Group, 
11035 Harry Hines Blvd., Suite 207, Dallas, TX 
75229; 214/351-0564. 

WOODY LISWOOO: Loaded with LUCID, the 
Model 100 (p. 16) Is a serious, portable 
spreadsheet tool. LUCID Is as powerful as 
any spreadsheet for any microcomputer on 
the market. The worksheet can be very 
large— 254 rows by 126 columns. LUCIO's 
features include the ability to cut and paste 
data from one area of the worksheet to 
another, variable column widths, customized 
input forms, and bug-free formula 
manipulation. A utility menu branches to 
specialized extra programs including ones 
that sort data and draw graphs. LUCID 
comes as a chip you install in the bottom of 
the Model 100, which means it takes up no 
memory space and is fast. 

JAMES STOCKFORD: LUCID ranks right up 
there with SUPERCALC (p. 67) and 1-2-3 
(p. 68). That it can work with text as well as 

The higher-cost spread . . . 

$2995. Hewlett-Packard, 1020 N.E. Circle Blvd., 
Corvallis, OR 97330; 800/367-4772. 

WOODY LISWOOD: 1-2-3 comes on the HP 
110's ROM chip and contains almost all the 
features 1-2-3 (p. 68) has on the bigger 
machines. It makes the over-engineered and 
pricey HP110 a useful spreadsheet machine. 

RICHARD DALTON: Think of HP's 9-pound 
powerhouse as a quantum jump up from the 
TRS-80 Model 100 (p. 16)— in both price and 
performance. Cost is $2,995 and you get a lot 
more: 16 line x 80 column screen; 272K RAM 
and 392K ROM memory; built-in modem; 
sophisticated software and five extra pounds 
to lug. 

That's all fine, but you should have use for the 
integrated software if the price difference is to 
make sense. The 110 comes equipped with 
1-2-3, MEMO MAKER (a limited writing tool), 
and TERMINAL, a simple, powerful 
telecommunications program. 

The LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screen is 
controversial. Characters are shaded for 
readability but the screen must be straight in 
front of you and tilted just right or glare is a 
problem. Contrast is adjustable over a wide 
range. At its best viewing point, I still 
wouldn't want to look at the screen for 
periods beyond an hour or two. 

numbers Is terrific. You can use "if-then" 
statements to find figures for particular 
situations. Create a table for your Nirvana Oil 
Company Punch with bottle size and weight 
of emollients, and LUCID will come back 
with the number of bottles you have to sell 
to make your costs, and warn you if your 
combination exceeds toxicity levels of boola- 
boola juice. 

WOODY LISWOOD: The Tandy Radio Shack 
Model 200 lap-size computer comes with 
MULTIPLAN (p. 70) on the machine's ROM 
("Read Only Memory") chip, rather than on 
a plug-in ROM chip like LUCID for the Model 
100. Although this version of MULTIPLAN 
works about the same on the Model 200 as 
on the larger micros, the Model 200 
MULTIPLAN allows only 99 rows. LUCID has 
more capacity and features than the Model 
200 MULTIPLAN, and is limited in 
comparison only by two Model 100 
limitations: the Model 100 has an 8-line 
screen versus the 200's 16 lines, and the 
Model 100 can have a maximum memory of 
32K RAM versus the 200's 96K. You get a 
better spreadsheet using LUCID in the Model 
100 and the combined price is lower. 

The HP110, "The Portable, " is a classy, solidly 
constructed spreadsheet machine; however, the 
price is prohibitive unless you can get a tax break 
for using the 110 in business. 

TRS-80 Model 100; 24K; free to members of 
CompuServe's (p. 140) Model 100 SIG (PCS-154); 
membership in the SIG free to CompuServe 

WOODY LISWOOD: There are a number of 
calc programs available for the TRS-80 Model 
100 (p. 16). When you compare price to 
features, however, the winner is the MINIVC 
program, available as a free public domain 
program on the TRS-80 Model 100 Special 
Interest Group (SIG) on the CompuServe 
Information Service (CIS) network (p. 140). If 
you are on CIS, you'll find the SIG by typing 
GO PCS 154 at the main prompt. 

The cost is right: $000.00. 

MINIVC has the right features. It is modular in 
approach, and you do not need to add the 
code (and can delete the code) for any 
features you do not need. This is important, 
for with less code you have more memory 
available for your spreadsheet. 

MINIVC can ABS (absolute value), INT 
(integer), SORT (square root), ROUND (round 
off), SUM (add all or part of a row or column), 
and AVG (find an average). A second module 
adds MIN (find the minimum value in a list), 
MAX (find the maximum value), MOD, FIX, 
PI, EXP (exponentiate), COS (cosine), LN 
(natural logarithm), TAN (tangent), SIN (sine), 
ATAN (arctangent), as well as Boolean 
operators. You can also replicate both 
absolute and relative numbers, insert and 
delete, transfer and edit your data. In other 
words, MINIVC can do the same sort of 
things as many of the other calc programs 
that cost you your hard-earned dollars. 

Well, if it is free, what is the problem with 
it? This is a BASIC program, not a machine- 
language program, and therefore slower. 
Also, I would like to have adjustable column 
widths. Other than that, no problems. It has 
all the features you might want, considering 
the limited (32K) memory on the machine. By 
the time you read this, author Woods Martin 
(CIS number 70235,232) will probably have 
added more features. 

What we need is to develop a way of 
discussing computers, and all technologies, 
from what we might call a "holistic" 
perspective. The question must not be 
confined to whether a computer serves your 
organization well, or whether it spits out 
perfectly-edited copy We need to view the 
computer for the totality of its effects upon 
society and life on Earth, and to ask 
questions which will bring forth that picture. 

How do computers affect concentrations of 
wealth and power? Who gains and who loses 
because of their existence? Do computers 
have environmental effects? What are they? 
What about diversity of culture and thought? 
The way we work, and who gets to work? 
What are the effects on what we know and 
are capable of knowing? What is gained and 
what is lost? 

— Jerry Mander 


Costs less than $60 . . . 

¥€-mw © 

Jim Button. Version 2.0. Not copy-protected. 
Shareware; $48 registration fee for disk and 
manual; updates extra. Buttonware, P.O. Box 
5786, Believue, WA 98006; 800/528-8866 or, in 
WA, 206/746-4296. 

WOODY LISWOOD: Spreadsheets have 
arrived at last in the shareware domain. 
What's shareware? A method of distribution 
that encourages people to try programs, 
copy them, give them to friends. If you 
decide you like the program, then you pay 
for it, register it, get the printed user's 
guide, and away you go. PC-CALC is a full- 
featured spreadsheet with many of the 
functions you will want to use. The price is 
right. However, the program is written in 
BASIC (therefore slow) and has limited size 
(255 rows). If these limitations don't bother 
you, if you rarely have need for a 
spreadsheet, or if you always wondered 
whether you really wanted to use a 
spreadsheet, this is a good way to go. I 
recommend it over PFS:PLAN, another 
relatively limited but inexpensive spreadsheet 
from the folks who also sell the popular 
PFS:FILE (p. 80), because PC-CALC is more 
fully featured, less expensive and you don't 
have to pay for it unless you like it. 

I[mmsllilji]mt WMMm 

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Consolidating worksheets . 

Laurence Ctiapman; version 3.0; IBM PC/XT 
compatiiiles, Wang, Tl Professional; 192K; copy- 
protected; $125; Micro Decision Systems, Box 
1392, Pittsburgh, PA 15230; 412/854-4070. 

DON SCELLATO: This utility program 
operates on VISICALC, SUPERCALC (all 
versions), 1-2-3, SYMPHONY, and 
MULTIPLAN worksheet or template files, 
allowing the user to add them together, 
subtract one from another, divide or multiply 
them by a selected number, and add or 
subtract a number from them. You can add 
together all the segments of an activity to 
provide an overall analysis or generate 
variance-analysis reports along with percent- 
and time-change reports. Since a worksheet 
in one file can be divided by a worksheet in 
another, you can also, for example, get a 
"percent of total company" analysis report 
for one segment of a company, or a "percent 
of total market" analysis for a company. 

To use MERGECALC, however, the layouts of 
all the worksheets and models to be 
manipulated as a set must be identical. You 
are working with different versions of 
identical templates, so the only difference 
between the templates will be the input data, 
not the formulas or grid locations of your 

WOODY LISWOOD: The spreadsheet is a visual environnnent where you can 
perform mathematical, algebraic, and logical operations and see the results of 
those operations immediately. With a database, you normally work with (and 
see) one record at a time. To change the relationships between data in a 
database, to look at all the data, or to edit it requires considerable effort. 
However, the error-checking capabilities built into many databases (and missing 
from spreadsheet programs) can be an advantage when you want to ensure 
accurate data entry. 

The best databases give you many options for fancy, formatted, printed reports 
impossible to produce with a spreadsheet. For example, I use a spreadsheet 
program to analyze and process salary surveys. Entering the data into a 
worksheet makes it easy to see each row as it goes by, edit, and look for 
anomalies. The problem comes when I want to print a report that shows all the 
information for each job on a page by itself. To do this with a spreadsheet 
program, I would need a worksheet 2750 rows deep with 50 duplicate sets of 
headings and formulas. By printing the report with a database 1 can set up a 
Preformatted page with all the headings on it, and print all the reports quickly 
with one pass through the data. 

Moving data to a spreadsheet for analysis and what-if possibilities, then moving 
the data from a spreadsheet to the database for reports, gives me the best of 

^°^h ^°^'^s- -Woody Liswood 

Spreadsheet to spreadsheet . 

Laurence Chapman; version 1.47; IBM PC/XT 
compatibles, Wang, Tl Professional; 256K; copy- 
protected; $245; Micro Decision Systems, Box 
1392, Pittsburgh, PA 15230; 412/854-4070. 

Auditing a spreadsheet model . . . 


Laurence Chapman; version 5.0; IBM PC/XT 
compatibles, Wang, Tl Professional; 192K; copy- 
protected; $95; Micro Decision Systems, Box 
1392, Pittsburgh, PA 15230; 412/854-4070. 

WOODY LISWOOD: When you create 
complicated spreadsheets, you need to 
document your methodology for your own 
benefit in case you want to change 
something, and for the benefit of someone 
who wants to understand the model you 
created. For documentation purposes, the 
built-in cell-formula printer routines in the 
major spreadsheets leave much to be 
desired. DOCUCALC prints formulas out in 
row order, in column order, or in a matrix 
identical to where the formulas are in your 
worksheet. It also prints reports showing 
circular references, ranges, and blank cells. 
Works great. A must-have program for 
VISICALC, SUPERCALC (any version), 1-2-3, 
SYMPHONY or MULTIPLAN users who need 
to keep track of what is happening. 

For more utilities: SIDEWAYS (p. 69) 
and Programming (pp. 158 to 174). 

converts models from one spreadsheet into 
models used by another, converts formulas 
and labels, and moves the data, too. 
Whichever way you want. It works with 
VISICALC, all versions of SUPERCALC, 

Spreadsheet to database to 
spreadsheet to . . . 

Laurence Chapman; version 5.14; IBM PC/XT 
compatibles, Wang, Tl Professional; 192K; copy- 
protected; $175; Micro Decision Systems, Box 
1392, Pittsburgh, PA 15230; 412/854-4070. 

Need to get data into and out of a 
spreadsheet program and a variety of other 
formats? LOADCALC converts ASCII text files 
(no command codes imbedded in the files) 
into spreadsheet formats; converts 
spreadsheet files into files that can be used 
by DBASE II (p. 85), DBASE III (p. 86), and 
other major databases; and converts 
spreadsheet files into DIF files that can be 
used by 6RAPHWRITER (p. 129) and CHART 
MASTER (p. 129). LOADCALC is primarily 
used to change columnar reports 
downloaded from mainframes (for example, 
online databases) into spreadsheet files. 
However, it can convert any file with 
delimited values (for example, a line of data 
with commas between each separate item) 
into spreadsheet format, and it allows you to 
enter delimiters. It works with VISICALC, all 
versions of SUPERCALC, 1-2-3, SYMPHONY 


When a spreadsheet isn't enough . . . 

EniiiiTc ^^ 
uumt %J 

Alan Reeder and George Olding. Version 1.1. Not 
copy-protected. $195 (street $140). IBM PC/XT/AT 
and compatibles (128K). Equate Research Group, 
5632 East Third St., Tucson, AZ 85711; 

WOODY LISWOOD: One of the problems 
with life in the digital world is that solutions 
to some mathematical problems require 
formulas that won't work in the slick and 
easy spreadsheet environments. EQUATE 
has many of the same functions as a 
spreadsheet and, in addition, its 
programming language lets you design 
formulas and build equations that 
spreadsheet programs would just burp at. 

EQUATE helps you create and solve 
formulas: You get a few preformatted 
worksheets and one worksheet that contains 
most of the constants you might need but 
can't find or remember. Once you've built an 
equation, EQUATE will prompt you for 
missing variables. Solutions are actually 
printed in a table format that looks 
indistinguishable from a typical spreadsheet. 
It's the only program of its kind on the 

Survey analysis . . . 

Version 3.11. Copy-protected. $495 (street $275). 
IBM PC/XT/AT and compatibles (192K). Hard disk 
required for full program capabilities. Personnel 
Software, Inc., 317 Barton Ct., Danville, CA 

one thing—paired comparisons with multiple 
criteria— and does it very well. You can have 
up to 20 raters (survey respondents) and 50 
items. In addition you can specify partial 
subsets. And each rater does not have to 
evaluate each item for the program to work. 

Say you have decided to upgrade your 
employee benefit program, but you have no 
idea how your employees would respond to 
new benefits or changes. So you develop a 
list of current and future benefits. Then you 
have SOLOMON develop a set of survey 
questions that you have each of your 
employees complete. 

SOLOMON takes all of the results and ranks 
the entire set of items according to their 
importance to employees. You also receive a 
relative value order, which gives you the 
magnitude of difference between each item. 
It's the only program of its kind. 

Although SOLOMON was designed as a 
management tool for rating employees, its 
criteria- ranking capabilities could just as well be 
used for evaluating products such as software. 
Program-generated forms such as this one are 
filled out by up to twenty appraisers, and the data 
is entered into the program. The result is a 
ranked list of spreadsheet programs for the 
criterion "ease of use." 


Standard Appraisal Form 



Personnel Software Inc. 

Page 1 



















MUl TlPl.AN 





Complex problem solving . 

Apple II family; 64K m IBM PC/XT compatibles 
® MS-DOS machines; 128K; copy-protected? YES; 

Mechanical Engineering, Financial Management, 
Introductory Science, and Building Design & 
Construction; runs on same systems as 
TKISQLVER; copy-protected? YES; $100 each; 

both from Software Arts, 27 Mica Lane, Wellesley, 
MA 02181; 617/237-4000. 

DON SCELLATO: TKISQLVER is a useful tool 
for people who must frequently solve 
complex mathematical equations, have no 
desire to write complicated programs in 
BASIC or another language, and do not want 
to work within the constraints of electronic 
spreadsheet programs. 

If you are an engineer, architect, statistician, 
chemist, physicist, navigator, astronomer, or 
financial or statistical analyst whose job 
involves the solution of complex formulas and 
the frequent use of mathematics, TKISQLVER 
is a program you should examine. It's 
extremely easy to learn and use. I would even 
recommend that high school students 

studying science and advanced math look at 
the program. College math students would 
find it a useful tool. 

It solves complex mathematical problems, 
creates tables of various parts and results of a 
formula, and makes rudimentary plots of the 
data generated. Although the graphics output 
of the program is adequate for someone 
working with math, it is not presentation 

TKISQLVER uses a very logical and simple 
approach to solving problems. You begin by 
setting up a Rule Sheet— a list of equations or 
formulas to be solved. As you enter rules, 
each variable in an equation is automatically 
transferred to a Variable Sheet. The Variable 
Sheet is particularly important, since it is 
used to enter known values in the equations 
on the Rule Sheet. Equations can be 
supported by a table of conversion factors or 
further defined by use of a Unit Sheet (which 
interlocks with the Rule and Variable Sheets). 
A Global Sheet can be used to set printing 
defaults and turn the automatic transfer of 
variables on or off. 

Once you have entered rules and known 
variables, you can solve for unknown 
variables in the equations. The "Direct 
Solver" produces a series of guesses that 

lead to a solution by trial and error You 
provide the problem to be solved and the first 
guess at the correct answer Press the ! key, 
and the program solves the equation based 
on the first guess. It then replaces the first 
guess with the first solution. Press the ! key 
again, and the process is repeated until the 
proper solution is reached. 

By setting up a List Sheet for repetitive 
solutions to the same problem, you can make 
the process happen automatically. The List 
Sheet describes each list of data required for 
the solution of a problem, with further 
subsheets used to define the known elements 
of each list. The problem can then be solved 
for each item in the list. If the problem must 
go further than required on the Rule Sheet, a 
User Function sheet can be used to define 
specific functions or numeric relationships. 

TKISQLVER is produced by the same folks 
who invented VISICALC and uses a similar 
command structure. The manuals are clear 
and complete. Optional TKISOLVERPACKs 
have equations for solving common problems 
in particular fields such as introductory 
science, mechanical engineering, and 
financial management. 



Plot of horsepower 
vs weight and mpg 


One unique feature of STATGRAPHICS is its 
ability to display data in three dimensions as 
seen above in this floating 3-dimensional plot 
showing gas economy of a selection of cars with 
differing weights and horsepower. 

Even does surface plots in 3-D . . . 


Neil Polhemus. Version 1.0. Not copy-protected. 
$695 (street $475). IBM PC/XT/AT and 
compatibles (384K; 2 disk drives or hard disk 
required). STSC, Inc., 2115 East Jenerson St., 
Rockville, MD 20852; 301/984-5123. 

made my day. Finally a complete statistics 
program with built-in graphics, and it's 
unprotected at that. STATGRAPHICS is the 
best statistics package I've found. The 
graphics and plotting capability can be seen 
onscreen, printed or plotted. 

STATGRAPHICS does the following: 
smoothing (simple moving average, 
weighted moving average, polynomial, 
q-splines, closed q-splines, rate function 
estimate from counts, and rate function 
estimates from intervals), time series 
(horizontal time sequence, vertical time 
sequence, seasonal subseries, 
autocorrelation, partial autocorrelation, 
cross-correlation, simple or seasonal 
differencing, mean or trend removal, Box- 
Cox transformation, periodogram, integrated 
periodogram, data tapering, plotting vs. 
Fourier frequencies, Box-Jenkins ARIMA 
modeling, and cross-correlation matrix 
plotting), categorical analysis (contingency 
tables, Chi-square, crosstabs, numeric 
coding of classification factors), multivariate 

(matrix creation, variable standardization, 
correlation matrix, covariance matrix, 
principal components, factor analysis, factor 
rotations, cluster analysis, discriminant 
analysis, canonical correlations, expansion 
of compressed matrix, star-symbol plots, 
sun-ray plots, draftsman plots, and 
casement plots), nonparametric (basic runs 
test, runs test up and down, runs test above 
and below median, basic sign test, sign test 
for location, sign test for paired samples, 
Wilcoxon signed rank tests, Mann-Whitney- 
Wilcoxon test, Kendall rank correlation, 
Spearman rank correlation, Kolmogorov- 
Smirnov one-sample test, Kolmogorov- 
Smirnov two-sample test), and there are 
experimental design sections, sampling 
sections, quality-control sections, 
forecasting sections, data-management 
sections, exploratory data-analysis sections, 
and distribution-function sections. 

STATGRAPHICS is a relatively new program, 
so I haven't had a chance to work with it as 
much as the other statistics packages I'm 
recommending, but so far I've found 
STATGRAPHICS to be one of the most 
complete and easy-to-use statistics 
programs that I have come across. My big 
complaint about the program is that it's 
slow. However, the plotting capabilities are 
superb! They include 3-dimensional graphic 
and bar charts as well as 3-D surface plots 
which makes the display and interpretation 
of statistical data almost easy. 

Best value for Apple II owners . . . 

Apple II family; DOS 3.3; 48K @ Apple III in 
emulation mode; copy-protected? NO; $199.95; 
Rainbow Computing, Inc., 8811 Amigo Ave., 
Northridge, CA 91324; 818/349-0300. 

WOODY LISWOOD: Funny name, you think, 
for a statistics program. Well, DAISY stands 
for "Data Analysis and Interactive Statistics." 
For the money, it's a best-buy among 
statistics programs. 

DAISY'S two data-entry routines are among 
the best I have used with a statistics program. 
The first is standard with BASIC programs: 
You define your Xand /variable names, then 
the program asks you to enter your data one 
entry at a time. The second option is a calc 
type of entry model, in which you can enter 
data in a row-and-column format and use 
arrow keys to move around— a very, very 
good feature. In addition, DAISY has full 
editing capabilities within the matrix of data. 

All the features of the program are accessed 
with four-character codes for more than 100 
commands. If you are familiar with statistics, 
I would rate DAISY as user friendly. 

Otherwise, you might have to look up a 
command or data request in the 
documentation — or even a statistics 
textbook— before you are certain that you are 
responding correctly. Documentation is 
complete and explains each of the commands 
in a reasonably lucid style. DAISY'S help 
command gives you a list of available 
commands grouped according to function; 
INFO gives you a full description. If you enter a 
command that cannot possibly work, given 
where you are in the program, DAISY 
reminds you that if you are unsure of your 
next move, you can use the help and info 
commands to get more information. 

DAISY makes use of the extra memory in the 
Apple He and will use various 80-column 
cards including the Videx Videoterm and 
Ultraterm boards. 

DAISY also does graphics: sequence plots, 
histograms, scatter plots, semilog on both X 
and Yaxes, and log-log scatter plots. You can 
save the plots to print with your favorite 
graphics program (see Drawing, p. 122-137). 

What statistical wonders does DAISY 
perform? Transforms on a column basis: 
mean, standard deviation, variance, standard 
error, minimum, maximum, range, sums, 

frequency tables, histograms, covariances, 
correlation, partial correlation, auto- 
correlation. Spearman rank correlation, 
Kendall rank correlation, Kendall partial rank 
correlation, and Kendall coefficient of 
concordance. It runs tests about mean and 
about a given value, performs analysis of 
variance one-way or two-way, analysis of 
variance for regression, Chi-square, Mest, 
Cochran Q-test, Mann-Whitney U-test, 
Friedman two-way analysis of variance, 
summary statistics, regression coefficients, 
Durbin-Watson statistics, beta weights, fitted 
and residual values, and simple or multiple 
regression. DAISY uses all subsets of 
possible independent variables, uses all 
subsets of a given size, goes forward or 
backward in a stepwise regression, and 
sweeps a variable in or out of a regression. 

Also . . . handles exponents, integers, 
inverse, natural logs, logs, base 10, absolute 
values; adds, multiplies, divides, raises to 
powers, calculates cumulative totals and 
differences, and can lead or lag the data. 
DAISY creates new columns of data for the 
fitted and/or residual values of the regression. 



Coping with sl(ewness . . . 


Version 1.1. Copy-protected. $795 (street $550). 
IBM PC/XT/AT and compatibles with DOS 2.0 or 
higher (320K and 10MB hard disk required). 8087 
coprocessor recommended. SPSS, Inc., 444 N. 
Michigan Ave., Suite 3000, Chicago, IL 60611; 

WOODY LISWOOD: If you need a powerful 
statistics program, then this is it. This 
microcomputer clone of the mainframe 
version worl(s well, but, fair warning, SPSS 
is not for those uninitiated to the statistics 
priesthood. It assumes you l<now what you 
are doing and why. For instance, in the 
section on multiple regression there are 
numerous subheadings such as "Coaxing a 

Nonlinear Relationship to Linearity" or 
"Coping with Skewness" or "Stabilizing the 
Variance." If you feel comfortable with those 
terms, then the documentation is complete, 
helpful, and actually fun to read. It's full of 
sample problems and suggests different 
approaches to take when working with your 
data. And it supports KERIVIIT (p. 156) 
protocol to talk to a mainframe. 

On the other hand, it is copy-protected (you 
must have a key disk in drive A when you 
start the program), it doesn't have a curve- 
fitting routine, and it comes on nine disks 
that must be loaded and available before you 
can run the program. The publishers 
recommend that you dedicate an IBM PC/XT 
to do nothing but run this program. 

WOODY LISWOOD: Most of the charting 
programs designed for on-screen 
graphics or to drive digital plotters come 
with built-in statistical functions. These 
are normally regression functions that 
will calculate and plot a regression line 
when you enter in a scattergram. While 
they're fine programs, we are not 
reviewing them here because their 
primary function is graphics, not 
statistics. CHART MASTER (p. 129) is an 
example of this type of program. 

Accepts data from many sources . . . 

Version 4.08; IBM PC/XT/AT compatibles or MS- 
DOS machines; 196K ® Version 3.04; CP/M-80 
(64K) and CP/M-86 (128K); 2 disk drives or hard 
disk required; copy-protected? NO; $395; 
Anderson Bell Co., P.O. Box 191, Canon City, CO 
81212; 303/275-1661. 

WOODY LISWOOD: Although this program 
does not have all of DAISY'S features, it has 
an impressive number, and unlike current 
versions of DAISY it runs in the PC/MS-DOS 
environment as well as in CP/M. 

ABSTAT doesn't have curve fitting (see 
CURVE FITTER, p. 76); you have to determine 
in advance the maximum number of variables 
you'll need; you must always use upper-case 
letters; and the editing capabilities are very 
weak. But the program works rather well, it's 
reasonably well designed and easy to use, 
has enough statistics to solve many 
problems, and you can transfer your data to it 
from a multitude of sources. This means you 
do not have to re-key data already entered 
into other programs when you want to 
perform statistical analysis on it. 

You select commands via a menu, or, if you 
know what you want to do, you can avoid the 
menu by giving direct commands. You can 
type ? for help at any time; adding a 
command name gives you information about 
that command. 

With ABSTAT's command file (macro) option, 
you can use a word processor to create files 
of commands, name them, and then (if they 
are all valid ABSTAT commands in the proper 
order), once you bring your data into ABSTAT 
and give the program your command file 
name, the system will run by itself. The 
command file can turn on your printer and 
perform all the analysis you might need while 
you are out drinking coffee with your friends. 

What does ABSTAT do? Functions include 
Create a new file. Fetch an existing file. Edit, 
Save, Transform the current data set, Add 
variables from another file. Transform a 
variable from another file. Append data from 
another file. Print, Generate random 
numbers, Sort, Read an ASCII data file, and 
Read and Write a DBASE II (p. 85) data file. 

Statistical commands include one-way and 
two-way analyses of variance, Chi-square 
goodness of fit and Chi-square two-way 
contingency table, correlation coefficients (r) 
matrix, means, standard deviation, modes, 
values, frequencies, percent and z-scores, 
Mann-Whitney U-test, variable pair mean 
test, population mean test, f test for paired 
observations, probability commands, simple 
and multiple linear regressions, Spearman 
rank correlation matrix, and cross-tabulation. 

ABSTAT really worked well on this rank order 
correlation. ABSTAT finished the entire affair in 
just under 5 minutes with 45 elements in each set. 






1 K 


2 P 



3 R 



). 00000 

4 PT 





5 GD 






1 K 

2 P 

3 R 

4 PT 

5 GD 

For lap computers . . 

NEC PC-8201A a TRS-80 Model 100; 24K; $65; 
copy-protected? NO; McDonald Micro Products, 
Inc., 17734 Preston Rd., Suite 204, Dallas, TX 
75252; 214/380-8100. 

WOODY LISWOOD: The best statistical 
package for these two popular lap computers 
does this program have many of the statistics 
from the full size microcomputers, it displays 
a graphic curve that fits on the small screens 
in a most professional manner. 





LE: 1 K 




Q 2 


10 15 






1 1.0000 


6 1.5 


1 5.0000 



8 2.0 
1 2.8 

8 4.5 

9 7.3 

3 8.3 














1 2.8 
1 2.8 
3 0.8 
5 1.3 



2 0.5 




399 10 


10 15 

ABSTAT constructs bar graphs (above) and plots of 
the data— not the fancy hi-res plots you might be 
used to, but they get the point across, and they 
print with any printer 


Professional, technical . 


Apple-based programs tliat work In tandem. Some 
consider the curves produced by Scientllic Plotter 
to be some of the best available. In addition, you 
can print these graphics on your dot matrix 
graphic-capable printer or on selected digital 

Apple II family; 48K; $35 • IBM PC/XT/AT/ 
Enhanced PCjr and compatibles; 128K; color/ 
graphics adaptor board; $95; optional Interface 
Sensor board; $495, Apple; $595, IBM; copy- 
protected? NO; 

Apple II family; 48K; disk drive; $25 ® IBM PC/XT/ 
AT/PCjr; 128K; color/graphics adaptor board; $95; 
optional Interface Sensor board; $495, Apple; 
$595, IBM; copy-protected? NO; 

both from Interactive Microware, Inc., P.O. Box 
139, State College, PA 16804; 814/238-8294. 

WOODY LISWOOD: If you do curve fitting and 
also need to generate high-resolution plots of 
your data, then you must— repeat, musP— 
PLOTTER as part of your program library. 

These programs are designed by technical 
folks to be used by technical folks. Some 
engineers we talked with felt that these 
programs were the only "professional" 
plotting programs on the market. 


The price is right, too. . . 

Apple II family; 48K; shareware; for availability 
contact San Francisco Apple Core, 1515 Sloat 
Blvd., Suite 2, San Francisco, CA 94132; 

WOODY LISWOOD: If all you need to do is 
curve fitting (determining which type of 
curve— linear, exponential, logarithmic, or 
polynomial— best fits a particular data set), 
the best program is free. That is, if you have 
an Apple. A program called REGRESSION 
ANALYSIS is (or should be) in the user library 
of your local Apple User Group. This program 
takes data sets and produces regression 
curve fits for linear, exponential, logarithmic, 
and power curves; graphs those curves singly 
or together on a screen; and then prints out 
those screens on a printer 

REGRESSION ANALYSIS, a free public domain 
program available from most APPLE USER 
GROUPS, calculates the best fit line for Power, 
Linear, Exponential, and Log curves. It also graphs 
your data for you and, if you have the correct dot 
matrix printer, it will print those graphs for you as 

Once you figure out how to use CURVE 
FITTER, the ease of operation and error 
trapping are superb. I tried to get the program 
to bomb and couldn't. You can enter data by 
keyboard, disk, or other means. You can then 
manipulate the data, transform it, or do 
almost anything else to it before you generate 
the curve fit. Along the way you can generate 
high-resolution plots. 

A curve-fitting procedure can contain between 
25 and 1000 data points. The program first 
generates a scatter diagram of the data you 
entered. Then, after you fit your curve 
through the data, it lays a dotted line through 
the scatter diagram. You can save any of the 
pictures as you go along or use another 
graphics program to print them on a graphics 
printer (I use a Grappler Board with an Epson 
MX-80 printer.) 

Because the program code is not protected, 
you can modify it to your heart's content. In 
fact, specific areas of the program are left 
open so you can put in the data-manipulation 
techniques you need. I added my own printer- 
initialization routines so I could print graphics 
as part of a normal work session without 
having to save the graphics as pictures first. 

SCIENTIFIC PLOHER accepts data from 
CURVE FITTER with no problems whatsoever, 
though it's somewhat difficult to use because 
of its flexibility. You can address any 
individual pixel on the screen and put 
anything you want there — special symbols, 
numbers, lines, dots, and so on. However, 
once you've learned SCIENTIFIC PLOHER, 
you'll find you can do quick-and-dirty 
graphics very quickly You can even identify 
end points of the X and Y graphs using game 
paddles or a joystick. It works and it speeds 
things up. In fact, command sequences go as 
fast as or faster than many of the available 
graphic programs that require almost the 
same number of responses to give you 
someone else's version of what you need for 
your graphic display (and still require you to 
enter your data into the other programs). 
SCIENTIFIC PLOTTER lets you add five lines 
(255 characters each) of fancy labels to each 

I tested the program by generating 38 
separate graphics for related data and then 
printing and converting them to overhead 
projector slides that would overlay each other 
with perfect registration during presentation. 
It worked fine. The program works better than 
any graphics program in my library It only 
does curves, but it does them well. At the 
price, I think it is a best buy— if you go in for 
this sort of thing. 

SCIENTIFIC PLOnER, too, is unprotected, 
and the authors encourage you to modify it to 
meet your specific needs. As in CURVE 
FIHER, you have easy entry to BASIC, DOS, 
and other sections of the program via built-in 
control sequences. New versions support 
various digital plotters. You can purchase the 
special printer disks separately 

Regression analysis. 


Jif IfMif fe itmk MmM 

MATTHEW MCCLURE: When I was a securities analyst fifteen 
years ago, I helped build a regression model to predict the stock 
market. I was working with some economists at Stanford who 
explained the Random Walk theory of stock prices— which says 
essentially that stock prices can't be predicted mathematically— 
and then proceeded to develop a model that worked. Once we 
knew what the market as a whole was going to do, we could pick 
industries that were likely to accelerate rapidly in a bull market, 
or ones that would be resistant to the weakness of a bear 

We picked our industries according to "fundamental" 
considerations, as opposed to "technical" ones. Fundamentals 
are things like price/earnings ratio, market share, annual sales, 
dividend yield, debt capital, financial strength, percent return on 
net worth, and projected growth rates. Technical analysis is 

based on the axiom that a trend will continue until it changes; it 
is concerned with how prices fluctuate in a market, essentially 
independent of the kind of company or industry being evaluated. 

Having chosen industries that looked attractive for the kind of 
market we expected in the next six or nine months, we would 
pick companies that looked fundamentally sound. Then we 
would do some technical analysis— to determine which ones 
seemed to have the most market potential. We made our money 
on service charges based on performance, and we consistently 
outperformed the market. 

Now there are tools for personal computers that make this whole 
process comparatively painless. Anyone who is considering 
playing the market should consider investing in these programs. 
They won't give you the edge that the pros on Wall Street have, 
but they will give you good , valuable methods for making 
investment decisions. 

Fundamentals, for investors . . . 


Version 2.1; Apple II family; 64K; 2 disk 
drives; 80-column card recommended; printer 
recommended ® IBM PC/XT/AT and compatibles; 
64K; 2 disk drives; parallel printer recommended; 
monthly plan: $443/yr (1st year, $398/yr 
thereafter); quarterly plan: $211/yr (1st year, 
$162/yr thereafter); both plans refundable; 2- 
month trial, $39 (non-refundable); Value Line, 
Inc., 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017; 
212/687-3965, ext. 3496. 

MAHHEW MCCLURE: For automating 
analysis of securities fundamentals, VALUE/ 
SCREEN is excellent. Enter your criteria for 
selection from the 32 available variables- 
computer stocks with price/earnings ratios 
less than 10 and dividend yields greater than 
8%, for example— and you'll get a list of 
stocks that meet them. If the list is too long, 
refine your criteria further, eliminating those 
with a low percent return on net worth, for 
example, and ordering the resulting list by 
financial strength rating. 

VALUE/SCREEN'S data is updated monthly on 
disk; it's not as current as what you could get 
from Dow Jones News/Retrieval, but it's got a 
lot more information. 

Teclinical, for traders . . 

Version 2.0. Apple ll+/lle/llc and III (emulation 
mode); 64K; Grappler board and compatible 
printer; 2 disk drives; Hayes micromodem; copy- 
protected? NO ® IBM PC/n compatibles; 192K; 
color/graphics board; 2 disk drives or hard disk; 
copy-protected? YES; complete package: Apple, 
$595; IBM, $695; separately: Trader's Data 
Manager: Apple, $199; IBM, $249; Trader's 
Forecaster: Apple, $249; IBM, $299; Trader's 
Accountant: Apple, $199; IBM, $249; Summa 
Technologies, Inc., P.O. Box 2046, Beaverton, OR 
97075; 503/644-3212. 

MAHHEW MCCLURE: This is the program I 
would get if I were only getting one. 
automatically download securities 
information from Dow Jones News/Retrieval 
(p. 142). Then it will produce a graph of the 
stock's behavior— the traditional high, low, 
close, and volume chart (H/L/C/V) or a 
special chart of an indicator graphed against 
volume or against another indicator 

It is TRADER'S FORECASTER that makes the 
package worthwhile, though. In addition to 
the staid H/L/CA/ graph, it also uses such 
reliable methods as moving average, 
weighted moving average, exponential 
smoothing, and least square fit to produce 
informative graphs. Technical analysis tools 
include speed resistance lines, trading bands, 

Newsletter for the Money SIG . 

$48/year (6 issues), $24/yr to members; 
American Association of Individual Investors, 612 
North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611; 

microcomputer to improve your investing 
skills is a new trick. Computerized Investing 

is a newsletter for those who can afford to 
keep up with the latest software for investors, 
traders and speculators— or can't afford not 
to. Its reviews are knowledgeable and 
newslettery. But even better, the Member 
Software Services let you download software, 
and point you to good public-domain 
investment software. Nine subgroups around 
the country meet to exchange ideas about 
investment theory and computers. 

on-balance volume, relative strength, and 
point-and-figure analysis. The Proprietary 
Matrix Projection Formula uses sophisticated 
analytical techniques to predict the "next 
high" and "next low" prices— sell and buy 
signals, respectively 

With all these tools, the best technique is to 
try as many as possible. If one gives you a 
buy or sell signal, get confirmation from 
another before you act. 

averages and mid-channel support/resistance 
lines like Uiese for IBM, wtiose price broke 
through the support lines (a sell signal). The 
stock's price went down $20 after this signal. 

Commodity traders will be interested in 
obtaining price data via modem from 
Commodity Systems, Inc. (CSI, 200 W. 
Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton, FL 33432; 
800/327-0175 or, in FL, 305/392-8663) and 
update data files. Participating brokers will 
pay the CSI fee for their clients. For more on 
online services for investors, see p. 142. 

^^^^^^m^mm^M^m^^ms^m^s^FM^^^M^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^K^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ . 

Tony and Robbie Fanning, Domain Editors 

TONY AND ROBBIE FANNING: Information bombards us— much 
more than we care to, or can, sift through and remember. Only 
ten percent of every ton of paper going by carries interesting 
information. Five percent of that is useful, and we might want to 
look at one percent of it again. How do we find that one percent? 
We organize. We make lists, alphabetize and prioritize them, 
group similar kinds of information into piles, and throw out the 

To do this, we use mundane organizing tools— pencil and paper, 
paper clips, forms and questionnaires, little pads of stickum- 
backed yellow notepaper, 3" by 5" cards, file folders, fluorescent 
highlighting pens, Rolodex files, notebook section separators, 
and file cabinets. And we use tricks like outlining, patterning, 
and shuffling. We grow used to the limitations of our tools and 
tricks— we know we can't easily store a particular item under 
several references, or automatically reshuffle a filing system, or 
quickly make a list of what's in a cabinet drawer. 

Organizing programs can help sift information more flexibly. 
They exchange the familiar paper activities for new formats: 
lists, files, fields, records, databases, and even "computer 

environments." If you find the terms confusing— computer 
mavens might call your address book a "database" — don't 
worry. These programs do only a few simple, dumb things. They 
store away information. They sort it for you. They let you pick 
out what specifics you want to look up or print out. 

You probably already know what you want to do — manipulate a 
mailing list, organize your research notes, manage a small 
business — but you don't know which program fits your needs. 
To help you choose, we divided organizing programs into two 
rough categories— Me boxes and garbage bags. 

Little boxes {ca\\e6 "file managers" if they're simple, "database 
management systems" [DBMS] if they're complex) are designed 
to organize structured information that can be arranged so it all 
looks alike — ^for example, rows in a table of figures or entries in 
a phone book. 

Within this category we included two "flagship" programs— 
PFS:FILE and DBASE II— the standards against which we 
compared the rest of the candidates. If you're unfamiliar with the 
computer terms used to describe organizing tools, be sure to 
read these reviews first. Then look at the other reviews to pick a 
program appropriate to your particular needs. 

When you shop for this type of organizing program, play the 
numbers game. Find out the limits of a data-management 

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STEWART BRAND: My theory of old age is that people decay 
and eventually die from having too much stuff to remember 
Nephew's wife's mother's name. The percent the IRS is 
interested in of your rental property depreciation. Dozens of 
potentially guilt-producing birthdays. When you go to have a 
new thought, there's no place to put it. 

I can't tell yet if personal computers are helping or hindering 
our beleaguered lifework of Keeping Track. They certainly 
offer help; they even deliver it. But it may be one of those 
the-more-you-do-the-more-you-do things. The more the 
computer is remembering for you, the more you have to 
remember what it's remembering. Like the illusion of the 
Paperless Office a couple years ago— electrons were going to 
replace ink in the workplace. Ha. The busy little electrons 
helped generate more paper than ever To good effect? 
Maybe. Maybe even probably. But people are not, I notice, 
working less, or agonizing less. 

I'll bet next year we'll be reviewing a kind of program that 
scarcely exists yet— the dedicated database for home and 
office. MICRO COOKBOOK (p. 196) is headed in that 
direction. Bird books and tree books and flower books 
should soon be on software, with fulsome illustrations 
(videodisc please), the perfect way to "key" down the very 
subspecies of Mitigated Flycatcher that inhabits your part of 
the county. Meanwhile all we have is general purpose 
databases of increasing muscle. 

Tony and Robbie Fanning 

Tony Fanning has been watching them come on for decades. 
Now involved in Research & Development planning at 
Hewlett-Packard (who makes the "Touch Screen" 150 
computer and portable 110 [p. 71]), he started with 
computers 23 years ago programming an insurance 
company's first plunge into Data Processing. He's been in 
Silicon Valley since 1969, spent a couple years at SRI 
International before going to HP Robbie Fanning edits and 
publishes a quarterly newsletter for thread-benders called 
Open Chain, on stitchery and such— she uses DBASE II and 
WORDSTAR to keep it organized. Together they've written 
eight books on quilting, running, and personal time 

You may ask what program they used to organize Organizing. 
They used manila envelopes and 3" by 5" cards in little stacks 
on the floor Personal computers can look deep and snaky 
into your information, but they still have tunnel vision. 

program: its maximum number of files per database, records 
per file, fields per record, characters per field. (We list those 
statistics for every program recommended here.) Ask yourself, 
"How long will I keep my computer? How long will I use this 
program?" If the answer shows that you'll outgrow the program 
soon, consider alternatives. 

We call the second category of organizing programs garbage 
bags. Sometimes called "text organizers," they handle 
unstructured information of varying sizes, shapes, or types- 
such as quotations from books or research notes. 

More than any other type of program, organizing tools require 
powerful or expandable computer equipment. A good rule of 
thumb: if the computer system requires you to use your home 
TV for display, stick to 3" x 5" cards. It'll be less frustrating. For 
business use, a mainstream computer— IBM PC/compatible, 
CP/M, Apple— and two disk drives are musts. Expect soon to 
find yourself considering a hard disk and extra RAM (memory), 
especially if you depend on fast look-up capability. If you 
manage a lot of information, budget a lot of time to learn how to 
do it right. 

[PmM& Bmm§ 

Macintosh, all the invisible, abstract 
little boxes suddenly came alive. You 
can see them on Mac's screen, stretch 
them, shrink them, and look at the data 
inside(OVERVUEp. 81,HELIXp. 88). 

You can draw arrows between boxes to 
show relationships (HELIX), put 
pictures inside them (MICROSOF 
FILE), and you can even, for the first 
time ever on a personal computer, 
make the little boxes be pictures 

Pictures are the database 


Metcalf, Jacobs and Murray; Version 1.0; $195 
(street price $99); Macintosh 128K (512K 
recommended); Copy-protected; Telos Software 
Products, 3420 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica, 
CA 90405; 800/554-2469 or, in CA, 800/368-3813. 

Number of files permitted per database: 299 

(128K); 899 (512K) 

Records per file: varies with complexity of 


Fields per record: up to 30 

Characters per field: 2000 

Pictures in a database 


Version 1.0; $195 (street price $115), Macintosh 
128K (512K recommended); Copy-protected; 
Microsoft Corporation, 10700 Northup Way, Box 
97200, Bellevue, WA 98009; 800/426-9400 or, in 
WA, 206/828-8088. 

Number of files permitted per database: 
maximum 64K, limited by disk size. 
Records per file: limited by disk size. 
Fields per record: 1024 
Characters per field: 32,767 

TOM ZITO: The other day, the chief mate of 
this freighter walked into my stateroom with 
a problem: we were going to linger in Cadiz, 
Spain, longer than expected because some 
containers had been stowed in the wrong 
positions and needed to be reorganized— or 
overstowed, as they say in the container ship 
business. He had a pile of photocopied 
papers with containers' positions written on 
them, and I decided to introduce him to 
FILEVISION. I sketched a rough 
approximation of the ship on the screen, 
drew in the container positions, and then 
created a blank file form with all the 

information from his sheets: destination, 
weight, contents, container number. With a 
click of the mouse I linked each visual image 
of a container to its corresponding data file. 
After that, all the chief mate needed to do 
was point to a specific container and zap, the 
information he needed to relocate it appeared 
on the screen. The program could even do 
simple equations to show, for instance, all 
the containers not going to Istanbul that 
weighed less than 40 tons. 

MARK COHEN: One of the truly unique 
programs for the Macintosh, FILEVISION is a 
graphically-organized file manager. You start 
creating a file by drawing pictures of the 
elements. Each element may have text 
associated with it and be linked to other files 
of pictures (and associated text). You may 
have many elements of one "type" and you 
can graphically highlight all elements of any 
given type. Considering what it has to do to 
organize data in this manner, FILEVISION is 
reasonably fast. It's particularly well-suited 
for mapping— with FILEVISION, you can 
zoom in on a portion of a map and get 
detailed information. Or use the same 
techniques for teaching and training— you 
can easily design templates to teach 
anatomy, chemical structures, or auto 
mechanics, for example. 

designed, fun to use, and a plausible though 
limited database, not just a program to 
create graphics with extended footnotes. Its 
limitations are that it allows only 20 custom 
symbols per picture file; several lines with 
attached information are often required to 
draw an outline of an object with any 
complexity; and it can't incorporate 
MACPAINT'S (p. 127) more sophisticated 
pictures. Still, there is no equivalent 
program on the Macintosh or any other 
personal computer. Hopefully, the long- 
awaited FILEVISION II will correct these 

recommended for people who want to 
include pictures in a database organized 
around words and numbers— something 
OVERVUE (p. 81) and PFS:FILE (p. 80) can't 
do. You can, for example, cut and paste 
floor plan sketches (via Mac's clipboard) 
from MACPAINT into a database of real 
estate listings. (Unlike FILEVISION, there are 
no drawing tools.) FILE is laden with other 
file managing features— too laden, however. 
Even on a 51 2K Mac, the program runs too 
slow to recommend unless you need the 
picture-pasting capabilities. 

FILEVISION organizes information witti pictures. 
Jay Kinney used it to render ttie Tree of Lite whicli 
is a primary diagram of tlie Jewisli mystical 
teaching called Kabbalah. The Tree of Life's 
spheres, called Sephiroth, represent various 
levels of emanation from God and qualities of the 




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simple organizing programs stand out as 
remarkable values. You may not wish to 
organize your whole business using 
them, and you may outgrow them 
quickly But they'll introduce you to 
ideas that will let you master more 
flexible industrial-strength programs 
later. Or they might be exactly what you 
need in themselves. We call the first 
group of file managers "beginner's 
luck," because they're easy to use and 


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First you "paint" your PFS:FILE form on ttie 
screen . . . 






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Our flagship program: good for beginners, 
maybe all you need . . . 

Apple II family; $125 ® Apple III; $175 ® Apple 
Macintosh; $175 (bundled with PFS: Report) ® 
Commodore 64; $80 @ DEC Rainbow ® HP 150 
® IBM PC/XT compatibles @ IBM PCjr ® Tl 
Professional; $140 ® TRS-80 Models III & 4; $125 
® TRS-80 1000, 1200HD, 2000; $140 (TRS-80 
versions distributed only by Radio Shack); copy- 
protected? YES; Software Publishing Corp., 1901 
Landings Drive, Mountain View, CA 94043; 

Number of files permitted per database: 1 

Records per file: 1000 max (Apple); 2200 max 


Fields per record: 50-100/page; up to 32 pages/ 


Characters per field: 840 (Apple II); 1680 (others) 

PETE WENDELL: It does everything I need it 
to do easily and relatively quickly. And it's so 
simple that even my boss can use it. 

PHILIP ELMER-DEWin: Give my vote for 
PFS:FILE. It makes the kind of list-keeping 
most people do palpably easier. Still sells like 
hotcakes today after years on the market. I 
did my wedding on it (chapel seats, lunch 
plates, gifts, thank you notes— the perfect 
use for a home database) — and even my wife 
learned to love the printouts. 

one of the simplest organizing programs to 
learn because bells and whistles were 
designed out of instead of into it. It's an ideal 
starter for learning about data management, 
and in itself it's good for just about anything 
you could do with paper forms, as long as the 
job isn't too big. (In fact, its vocabulary is 
that of familiar paper forms rather than the 
more common, mind-deadening vocabulary 
of data processing.) Like forms, PFS:FILE 
works well when the information being 
organized is all of the same type: names and 
addresses, order information for customers, 
etc. You can make the blanks in its forms any 
size and fill them with any type of information 
(numbers, letters, or a combination); thus it 
can keep track of good-sized but discrete 
chunks of text, like comments, quotations, or 

The information you type into these forms 
(one form after another) is stored in a data file 
that might cover employee information for 
your little company gardening books in the 
university library customers of your custom 
sewing business, or (if you were a fat New 
York detective) a bedding history for your 

Setting up forms in PFS:FILE is so easy that 
you must remind yourself to design the form 
carefully, because the blank form controls all 
the other PFS:FILE functions, such as printing 
or making changes. For instance, to look up a 
piece of information on the screen, or print it 
on paper, you simply fill in the specifications 
on the same blank form. To ask for all 
employees earning more than $1000 a month, 
type ">1000" in the item "Salary" You can 
combine conditions to select exactly the 
records you want. You can look at the in- 
formation on the screen, print it, or delete it. 

PFS:FILE is fairly powerful, but it achieves its 
simplicity by limiting its capabilities— a 
standard tradeoff with organizing programs. 
When searching for forms to update, print, or 
delete, PFS:FILE has two speeds. The normal 
speed is sufficient for a small number of 
forms in your data file, but it slows down 
when the number gets large. If you will 
usually search by one item, make it the first 
item on your form, and the search will go 
faster because PFS: FILE uses that item as an 
index to narrow down the range of data it 
searches through. 

PFS:FILE can't use more than one index at a 
time. Also, it can't use more than one disk for 
a data file, so the number of forms you can 
track at once on a floppy-disk system is 
limited to about a thousand. But you can use 
the program on a hard disk, which relieves 
both the speed and capacity problems 

PFS: REPORT moved to the Macintosh, they 
remained essentially similar to versions for 
other machines, taking little advantage of 
Mac's unique capabilities. PFS:FILE on the 
Macintosh has a larger record size than 
OVERVUE (p. 81), MICROSOFT FILE (p. 79) 
or FILEVISION (p. 79), making it good for 
files with lots of text notes. 

Tlien you can use it to control iooliup, printing, and 
other functions. 

ASSISTANT SERIES is based on the 
FILING ASSISTANT and sells for 
$149; PFS:REPORT is called IBM 
$129. Why pay the higher prices? 
(PFS:FILE street price $89, 
PFS:REPORT street price $79) No 
reason I can think of— unless you 
want the templates, PFS:SOLUTIONS 
(no longer available from Software 
Publishing Corp.): IBM ASSISTANT 
($80). They all run on the IBM PC/ 
require 128K. (IBM Entry Systems 
Division, Box 1328, Boca Raton, FL 
33432; 800/447-4700.) 




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Apple II family e Apple III ® Apple Macintosh 
© DEC Rainbow ® HP 150 ® IBM PC/XT 
compatibles • IBM PCjr ® Tl Professional; $125 
• Commodore 64; $70 • TRS-80 Models III & 4; 
$100 ® TRS-80 1000, 1200HD, 2000; $140 (TRS-80 
versions distributed only by Radio Shack); copy- 
protected? YES; Software Publishing Corp., 1901 
Landings Drive, Mountain View, CA 94043; 

If you outgrow PFS:FILE, you have to 
learn a new vocabulary to move on to 
more powerful programs, which 
usually use data-processing talk. 



Form design 

Data file 







Database structure 



Screen (of data) 


Key field 

Output, reports 

TONY FANNING: If PFS:FILE fits your needs, 
you'll probably need the separately sold 
PFS:REPORT, which increases the kinds of 
reports (printouts) your data files can 
produce. PFS:FILE keeps its printout 
capabilities simple, requiring you to design 
your form with items in the order you want 
them printed; if the first item on the form is a 
zip code and the name is next, that's the 
order it has to print. It also makes you type in 
the printout specifications each time, even if 
they're always the same. 

PFS:REPORT can rearrange the items in a 
printout and save your printing formats for 
later use. It can also perform calculations like 
totals, subtotals, averages, and subaverages 
in a printout— to print a monthly summary of 
customer activity that averages the dollars 
spent per customer, for instance. It can group 
items by a particular characteristic—first the 
customers who bought your X-widget, then 
the Y-widget buyers. 






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PFS.REPORT can create more complicated 
printouts titan PFS:FILE. 

Faster than a speeding cursor . . . 

WtllVlJt o 

Version 1.0; Macintosh 128K or 512K; Not copy- 
protected; $295; ProVUE Development Corp., 222 
22nd St., Huntington Beach, CA, 92648; 

Number of files permitted per database: limited 

by disk size. 

Records per file: limited by RAM. 

Fields per record: 64 

Characters per field: 62 

clean, and fast— easy data entry, super fast 
reports. It has its limits— file size can't 
exceed available memory— but OVERVUE 
can hold more data on a Mac disk than many 
if not all other Macintosh data managers. 

MARK COHEN: OVERVUE is better suited for 
list making and number manipulating than 
for text storage (see PFS:FILE p. 80), but for 
these functions, it would be difficult for me 
to recommend OVERVUE too highly. 
OVERVUE contains an unusually powerful 
and interesting meld of database, 
mathematical, and report generating 
functions. Data files are stored entirely in 
memory while they are in use, making data 
retrieval and sorting functions much faster 
with this program than with FILEVISION (p. 
79), MICROSOFT FILE (p. 79) or PFS:FILE, 
and OVERVUE is the only one in this group 
that can generate reports that include more 
than simple tabulations of data. 

CLIFFORD FIGALLO: You create a file by 
filling in a form that looks like a spreadsheet. 
Each row becomes a record whose 
"columns" are fields for data. For example, 
a person's first and last names might go in 
the first two columns, a title in the third, 
company name in the fourth, etc., on across 
the row. Column names and widths can be 
changed (maximum width is 62 characters), 
added, or deleted at any time. You can use 
the data in any column as the basis for 
sorting the file. Simply move the cursor to 
the zip code column, for example, select the 
sorting function, and zap, all the rows in the 
file are lined up in zip code order. Equally 
fast is the SELECT command. Use it to find 
all the rows with Des Moines in the city 
column for example, or all the rows with 
area codes of 408 and 415. 

Columns can be totalled, averaged, and you 
can have the program calculate running 
column totals— useful for tracking 
checkbooks and inventories. OVERVUE even 
lets you create "macros" that contain a 
series of commands. Press a button and the 
macro carries out all the commands 

You can easily move data from OVERVUE to 
Microsoft CHART (p. 128) or MULTIPLAN (p. 
70) and segments of data sheets can be 
pasted into MACWRITE (p. 54). With Version 
2.0, you can move data into OVERVUE from 
many programs whose files are stored in 
common spreadsheet and database formats. 
Thus you can use OVERVUE as a front end 

for fast manipulation of otherwise ponderous 

MARK COHEN: Version 2.0 promises to be 
an even better program than 1.0, and an 
inexpensive ($20) upgrade for owners of 

i File Print Edit Find Rnalyze Math 

They're just your basic rows and columns, but, 
boy, can you do a lot with them— and fast. The 
wide choice ollield attributes adds to the 
flexibility and convenience of lite setup In 


Little files on a little computer . 


KEVIN KELLY: When I got a computer 
several years ago 1 had a very specific use in 
mind: I wanted to run a small mail-order 
business with it. Its main use would be to 
track thousands of names and print mailing 
labels. A complete software virgin, I called 
up a discount place and ordered the best file 
manager they had, a $64 program called 
F.C.M. My first program! It did the job . . . 
we eventually managed 10,000 names, far 
beyond what the software designers had in 
mind, by clumsily switching disks and 
swapping files, a constant reminder of the 
limitations of F.C.M. The program is a mildly 
mediocre tool that made a fairly hopeless job 
possible, a little fun, and most importantly, 
profitable for a team of two. It was so far 
superior to 10,000 index cards that most of 
the time I didn't care that it was mediocre. 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: Although we would 
never recommend that anyone wanting to 
keep a database on a computer buy a 
Commodore 64, those of you already owning 
C-64S might want to keep a file or two on 
your computer, and— although handwriting 

or typing index cards might be just as fast- 
be willing to put up with the C-64 for the 
lists and mailing labels you can select and 
print. So, for those of you with C-64s, here 
are our recommendations. 

JOHN SEWARD: If you're going to print a lot 
of mailing labels and want an inexpensive 
filer, try F.C.M. if you can live with its 
limitations: 24 characters per field, 10 fields 
per record and no more than 132 characters 
per record. However, it's written in C-64 
BASIC, and you can change it if you know 

version of 3 x 5 index cards— -you can store 
200 cards on a disk and sort through them 
quickly and easily using up to 800 key 
GENERATOR is heftier, allows some 
arithmetic, and has an excellent manual. It's 
more flexible than INDEX FILE: you can 
design larger data entry forms, and print 
lists or mailing labels that include only the 
data you select. (A report on your coin 
collection might list only silver dimes or 
buffalo nickels.) And you can save the 
selection criteria to easily print the report 
again. It's one of the original file managers 
for the C-64 and still one of the best. 

very good label printing features. It doesn't, 
however, let you sort in reverse order. 

PAUL HULSE: SUPERBASE 64 is the most 
powerful and flexible file manager for the 
C-64. Records can have text, numbers, 
calculated results, and date fields, and fields 
can be linked. With this program you could, 
for example, keep track of your vacation 
slides— noting where the pictures were 
taken, when, which you had reprinted at 
what cost. It has built-in help screens, 
sophisticated multiple sorting, matching, 
and report generation and you can even 
write a program to run your application or 
print complex reports. 

F.C.M.: Version 1.0. Not copy-protected. ($50; 
street $35); Arrays, Inc./Continental Software, 
11223 South Hindry Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90045; 
213/410-3977 ® THE INDEX FILE: public domain; 
Jeff Bean, 322 Eureka Street, San Francisco, CA 
94114; 415/648-7140 ® DATABASE MANAGER with 
REPORT GENERATOR: Copy-protected. ($100; 
street $68); Mirage Concepts, 4055 West Shaw, 
No. 108, Fresno, CA 93711; 800/641-1441 or, in 
CA, 800/641-1442 ® SUPERBASE: Copy-protected; 
($100, street 365); Precision Software, Inc., 3003 
Summer St., 4th Floor, Stamford, CT 06905; 

Count the features and divide by the cost . . . 

Version 3; IBM PC compatibles; 128K; copy- 
protected? NO; $49 contribution for disic and 
updates; ButtonWare, P.O. Box 5786, Bellevue, WA 
98006; 800/528-8866 or, in WA, 206/746-4296. 

Number of files permitted per database: 1 
Records per file: 10,000 
Fields per record: 41 
Characters per field: 65 








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JIM CELONI, S.J.: When I first wanted to 
catalog my diskettes, I used my text editor, 
creating a file with a one-line record for each 
disk. To look up a program, I used the 
editor's search command; to update the 
catalog, I edited the file. 

When I read about PC-FILE III, I wrote to Jim 
Button for my free copy; a week later I was so 
happy with it I sent a contribution. With PC- 
FILE I could update my file, sort it by any 
collection of fields, find records matching any 
specification, and format and print a report 
about any diskettes. A computer-novice friend 
of mine, using PC-FILE III, created a name 
and address file and printed three-across 
mailing labels the same day. 

PC-FILE III is easy. You give commands by 
pressing a function key or typing the first few 
characters. Report formatting directions are 
cryptic but well-documented. The manual, 
included as a file on the diskette, is excellent: 
explains everything, defines terms, and gives 
examples without being condescending. 

The program prompts you for new data 
clearly, though it flags input errors with only a 
"beep." It can fill in some fields such as date 
and time automatically. You can retrieve the 
most recently changed entry or the one just 
before it. Passwords can keep a file secure. 
Ten "smart" keys (ALT~o through ALT-9) can 

PC-FILE III has features not found on more 
expensive tile managers. This mailing list record 
was "Imported" to PC-FILE III from a MAILMERGE 
file, putting it In the database without rekeying. 

represent up to 75 characters each for speedy 
data entry or single-keystroke command 

Reports can include totals, other 
calculations, and text. You can sort fields by 
more than one characteristic (for example, 
employee names in alphabetical order within 
each salary level). You can send reports to a 
file and save report formats for continual use. 

PC-FILE Ill's data limits are reasonable, 
since the file must be on one disk drive. 
If I approached the limits, I'd buy R:BASE 
(p. 87). PC-FILE III is fast enough; for big 
files I use a RAM disk. I run it with 128K, a 
double-sided drive, and an 80-column color 
display (you can specify foreground and 
background colors). You can move data 
between PC-FILE and VISICALC, 1-2-3 
(p. 68), MAILMERGE (p. 56), and other 
programs. It's also compatible with the other 
two major "shareware" programs— PC- 
WRITE (p. 59) and PC-TALK (p. 152). When 
you count the features and divide by the cost 
you get a very big number. 

Programmer Jim Button answered my 
questions promptly and incorporated 
suggestions into new versions. I look forward 
to his planned PC-CALC (p. 72) and PC- 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: People using this 
program tell us that without the complete 
documentation, for which you must pay $49, 
commands to carry out many of the features 
listed in the manual-on-disk remain elusive at 


Mmff Fat liw»f ri 

TONY FANNING: With controls less 
complicated than a 747 jetliner, you can 
organize information, select from it, sort 
it, and print it. Each program in this 
section is powerful enough for "mid- 
range" organizing but conceptually 
simple enough to learn quickly. 
Remember that what is simple enough 
to learn quickly may be as quickly 

For files spread over several disks . 

Version 4 Plus; Apple II family; 64K; 2-4 disk 
drives; copy-protected? NO; $350; Stoneware, 50 
Belvedere St., San Rafael, CA 94901; 

Number of files permitted per database: 1 
Records per file: 5-10 megabytes (50-100 disks) 
Fields per record: 100 (1020 characters) 
Characters per field: 100 

TONY FANNING: This upgrade of a file 
manager popular in the Apple computer world 
for years has many convenience features and 
copious documentation. Like most file 
managers, DB MASTER allows you only one 
data file; unlike most, it lets you spread that 
file across many diskettes. With such a large 
file, you'll want three or four drives or a hard 
disk unless you don't mind swapping 
diskettes constantly (A hard disk requires a 
special edition of the program). 

You define the data structure with a form that 
you build on the screen. Later you construct 
similar forms, called Master Reports, for 
searching, printing, and updating. Searching 
is not particularly fast except with the primary 
index key which can be a combination of 
fields. It offers three levels of password 
protection and it can pull bite-size chunks out 
of long data entry forms so you can update a 
few fields without having to press hundreds 
of carriage returns. This makes DB MASTER 
4.0 useful in office situations where one 
person designs a system and other people 
use subsets of it. 

We recommend DB MASTER on the Apple 
(see MAGICALC, p. 70). The IBM PC version, 
called ADVANCED DBMASTER, is much more 
complex, fulsomely documented, and slow, 
though it is competently implemented. You 
can probably do better with R:BASE or 
another database manager (pp. 85-89). 

Macintosh supports a wide variety of type 
fonts onscreen (not printed), and is good with 
financial data. Unfortunately, it can print 
reports only with each record laid out in rows 
of one record each. 

Slip into a spreadstieet . . . 

REFLE][ © 

Version 1.0; IBM PC/XT/AT compatibles; 384K; 
IBM color graphics or Hercules card; Copy- 
protected. $495; Analytica Corporation, 3155 
Kearney St., Fremont, CA 94538; 415/490-3670. 

Number of files permitted per database: 1 
Records per file: 65,000 max; limited by RAM 
Fields per record: 128 
Characters per field: 254 

RUSEL DEMARIA: REFLEX is a file manager 
the makers of 1-2-3 (p. 68) might have 
invented. If you want an easy-to-use method 
of storing data and quickly analyzing, 
manipulating and viewing that data using 
pre-programmed spreadsheet and database 
financial, statistical, and logical functions, 
consider this unusual program. 

Using pull-down menus (no other choice), 
you can quickly view, analyze and fine tune 
data in ways that even with complex 
spreadsheet macros it would take much 
effort to accomplish. REFLEX also includes 
sophisticated reporting and classy graphics. 
You can move the cursor from point to point 
in an onscreen graph and the associated 
record will be displayed in a window. 

If you are looking for a database that handles 
huge quantities of data or text, then REFLEX 
is not what you want, nor can it perform 

Unique convenience . . . 

Release 5.1; IBM PC/XT/AT/compatibles; 256K 
(51 2K recommended); 2 disk drives or hard disk 
(recommended); Copy-protected; $495; Infocom, 
Inc., 125 Cambridge Park Dr., Cambridge, MA 
02140; 617/492-6000. 

Number of files permitted per database: 120 
Records per file: 32,700 
Fields per record: 160 
Characters per field: 255 

CLIFFORD FIGALLO: From the creators of 
many popular adventure games comes this 
unique bigger-than-a-file-manager for the 
"non-programmer." With capacity for large- 
scale business applications, CORNERSTONE 
includes two features not easily implemented 
on large-scale micro programs such as 
R:BASE (p. 87) or DBASE (p. 85): an easy- 
to-use relational data lookup function and the 
ability to have multiple entries in a single 
field within a record. 

Say you have a customer name and address 
file, a file with part numbers and prices, and 
an order entry file that needs to have some 
of the same customer and parts data entered 
into it. Call up the order entry file, type 
enough of the customer's name for 
CORNERSTONE to find it in the customer 
file, and the program automatically fills in 

massive number crunching on the level of 
1-2-3 and other spreadsheets. But REFLEX 
gives you ways to view data that are unique. 
Take a look. 

--'??■fe':^rJV^•' .VM^it■^iii ' l ^ j^£? ?tg g^i^ ^gl:aF a^ ^^ ^ 

With REFLEX, you use simple Mac-like menus to 
select a graph— scatter, line, cumulative bar, pie 
or bar (shown). Switching from one to another is 
quick and easy; scaling options give "zoomed" 
views. The database (the list in the other window) 
can be closed for full-screen graphs. 

the complete name and the address for you. 
Same with parts. Fill in the part number and 
price is automatically entered. Other 
organizers let you create this capability by 
writing little programs; CORNERSTONE gives 
it to you. 

Its other outstanding feature, the ability to 
have multiple entries within one field, makes 
data entry, searching for data, and reporting 
much easier. I've been using SMART (p. 89) 
for our software library database and have 
many records for Infocom— each listing 
information about individual Infocom 
programs (one record for ZORK, another for 
SUSPECT etc.). With CORNERSTONE (only 
recently available), I could have a more 
efficient design: each record would have one 
field for publisher (Infocom in this case), and 
one field for programs. The program field 
could hold an entire list— I'd simply add new 
programs to the same record. Then, when I 
looked up the Infocom record, I'd find all the 
programs— ZORK, SUSPECT 
CORNERSTONE, etc.— listed. With SMART 
(and most other organizing programs) you 
have to design and run a report to get this 

CORNERSTONE'S documentation is good, its 
tutorial very effective. Its two big problems 
are that its menu structure can be quite 
confusing until you get used to it, and it 
takes up a lot of room on a hard disk. 

If your business depends on forms for information 
collection, VERSAFORM will be the quickest way 
to automate the process. Somewhat clunky and 
rigid compared to other database managers, but 
light years faster than manual paper shuffling. 
VERSAFORM XL is much more flexible— giving 
you access to multiple files using its built-in 
programming language. It's a bit more difficult to 
use than VERSAFORM— you have to understand 
something about the logic of databases— but still 
easier than many database programs. Both 
columnar fields so that any one field on a record 
can have lists of items stored within it, as does 

An organized form 

of record keeping and billing 

Version 2.1; Apple II family; 64K; copy-protected; 
$69 « Version 2.3; Apple II family; 64K; not copy- 
protected; $149; supports Corvus, Cider and 
Profile hard disks ® Version 2.7; IBM PC/XT/AT/ 
compatibles; Tl Professional; Wang; DEC 
Rainbow; 128K; not copy-protected; $69. 


Version 3.21; IBM PC/n/AT/compatibles; not 
copy-protected; $99. 

All from Applied Software Technology, 170 
Knowles Drive, Los Gates, CA 95030; 

Number of files permitted per database: 1 

(VERSAFORM); memory dependent, but 10 

maximum recommended (VERSAFORM XL) 

Records per file: 30,000 

Fields per record: 75 (Columnar fields may have 

up to 99 occurrences) 

Characters per field: 78 

TONY FANNING: Don't throw away your old 
paper forms— with VERSAFORM you 
duplicate them as input screens and report 
formats. Once set up, people familiar with the 
paper versions can easily use the electronic 
versions with little training. 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: Both programs let 
you export data to 1-2-3, WORDSTAR 
(p. 56), and other programs. VERSAFORM 

XL, a somewhat faster program, can also 
import data that's in ASCII format (no 
unusual characters or control codes). 

THOMAS R. PIPER: If followed literally 
without too much thinking or conceptualizing, 
VERSAFORM can help a variety of businesses 
do their workaday tasks. For example, a local 
coal company runs more than $20 million of 
its transport tickets each year on forms 
designed and implemented by a low-paid 
secretary. They track 45 drivers and 30 trucks 
going to 25 major vendors. 

They weigh each load of coal and store 
customer names, billing and receiving 
addresses, truck numbers, driver numbers, 
gross weights, road taxes, reclamation taxes, 
sales taxes, discounts, and other shipping 
information, as well as variable prices of 
different coal grades. They continue to be 
amazed and delighted with what they can 

VERSAFORM 's look-up tables and business- 
form "calculators" work superbly for the coal 
company's invoicing. Later, the firm uses the 
reports from the same data files to manage its 
operations. For example, a "hauled tonnage 
between repairs" report is a prime indicator 
for each truck (sort of like reporting on mean 
time between repairs for computers); a 
driver's work-history report can be calculated 
for payroll (since drivers are paid by the load 
and mileage, not by time or on salary). I wish 
VERSAFORM'S fields were bigger, but its 
report generating is nice. 

■;S?ilAi'<'&i!Sn?Sfa»A§i^!'H'--i""'JWi.'' i-.-' '^^■'.r-'^ 

■ r-. 

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■ -^ :• 









. -Y 


Doing on-site inventory updating is a natural for 
the Model 100 and DATA + . In this case, bringing 
the computer to the application beats bringing the 
application to the computer. 


Put a filing system 

on your lap-sized computer . . . 

TRS-80 Model 100; 16K minimum, 32K 
recommended; also available for Olivetti M-10 as 
DATA10; copy-protected? NO; $60; 

S0RT2 + 

TRS-80 Model 100; 15K minimum, 32K 
recommended; also available for Olivetti M-10 as 
SORT10; copy-protected? NO; $29.95; 

both from Portable Computer Support Group, Inc., 
11035 Harry Mines Blvd. Suite #207, Dallas, TX 
75229; 214/351-0564; combined version (DATA/ 
SORT Plus, $49.95) available at your local Radio 
Shack dealer. 

number of files permitted per database: 1 
Records per file: 60 with 10K; more with more 
memory or if records are smaller than maximum 
Fields per record: 16 max 
Characters per field: 249 max 

JIM STOCKFORD: A word on the great 
convenience of filing systems on lap-sized 
computers: the computer itself can be carried 
down rows of shelves for the tax-time 
countdown, or taken to the field or library for 
data collection. At the worksite you can enter 
data into fields presented by the screen, and 
from there on the program does the work. 

Isn't that better than walking around with a 
notebook and returning to the office to key 
everything in? 

So far, these two programs from the Portable 
Computer Support Group are the best we've 
seen for the Radio Shack Model 100. DATA + 
is a standalone filing system that allows you 
to print labels, listings, and forms; sort 
records on any of the sixteen fields by 
alphabetical or numerical order; and 
incorporate fields into text files. It also has an 
Add: feature that creates files and reports 
from unrelated records. With the built-in 
search features of the Model 100, DATA+ is 
as good as many of the filing programs that 
run on desktop computers. 

If you use DATA+ for your work, you should 
get S0RT2 + as well. It sorts DATA + files by 
any field. It can sort alphabetically 
(recognizing upper-case letters ahead of 
lower-case letters if you wish) or by number, 
and it has an astonishingly low IK memory 

The manuals are beautifully simple. The 
factory support is friendly and immediate. 
Together, DATA+ and S0RT2+ provide an 
excellent filing, sorting, and printing tool at 
an awfully good price. 

TONY FANNING: Database management systems (DBMS) 
perform all the functions of the file managers and more. But 
they're not easy. What distinguishes them from file managers? 
They simultaneously process information from more than one 
file, and they're often programmable, letting you query them 
about that information in a variety of ways. 

With a database manager, you can store information in several 
data files and still have access to all the data in all the files, 
creating new files (or reports) that combine items selected here 
and there from any of the data files (which are often called 
"databases" for these more complex programs). The word used 
(and often misused) to describe this data handling ability is 
"relational"; it refers to the ability to combine (or "relate") 
information from different files that are set up in the form of 
tables. For example, you can combine address information from 
one file and sales information from another to create an invoice, 
if customer names are common to both. 

Database management systems are direct descendants of the 

monster data-processing programs that once lived only on 
corporate mainframes. They usually require something 
uncomfortably similar to programming to do their tricks- 
including getting the information back out of the database. This 
makes them extremely flexible and adaptable, but often 
frustrating for nontechnical users. They may exact a long 
apprenticeship, but if you need flexibility and industrial-strength 
information management, you'll be glad you have a DBMS. 

There are only three choices for beginners when it comes to 
these serious programs. (1) Decide right now that your 
organizing job is big and that you ought to devote a large amount 
of effort (and maybe a large amount of money) to mastering a 
powerful program. Then go do it. (2) Maybe you aren't cut out 
to be a computer programmer. Get someone else to set it up for 
you, and be happy that you can use it. (3) Forget it. You don't 
need the difficulty that accompanies this kind of complexity 

We're beginning to see new approaches, such as "natural 
language" add-ons that let you ask for information in English 
instead of programmer talk. They'll probably make personal 
computer DBMSs easily useable. We're also beginning to see 
good database managers included in all-in-one packages. But 
we're not there yet. 


The flagship, against which all others must 
be measured (batteries not included) . . 

Version 2.4; Apple II family ® Apple III ® IBM PC/ 
XT/AT compatibles ® most CP/M machines ® most 
MS-DOS machines; (contact dealer or Ashton-Tate 
for specific machine compatibility); copy- 
protected? NO; $495; Ashton-Tate, 10150 W. 
Jefferson Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230; 
800/437-4329, ext. 2341 or, in CO, 303/799-4900, 
ext. 2341. 

Number of files permitted per database: 2 
Records per file: 65,535 
Fields per record: 32 
Characters per field: 254 

TONY FANNING: You can't even talk about 
personal computer databases without 
mentioning DBASE II. Even satisfied users 
will tell why it's the most frustrating program 
in the world: it's so damn useful — but it's 
slow; it's so hard to figure out how to do what 
you want— but you can ... eventually Despite 
its limitations, just as with the IBM PC, 
DBASE became the standard against which 
we must measure all others, because of the 
widespread, consistent support that exists 
for it— it's a marketing success. There's 
love/hate from everyone who's used it. 

Many people who think that "DBASE" is the 
generic name for any database management 
system buy it only to find they can't 
understand it because so much of it is a 
programming language. Their next step is to 
take a course; DBASE II courses form a minor 
industry There are also about a dozen books 

on it so far And there are outboard ptoniam'. 
("batteries not included") to make it t-i'-'-r 
where it's slow and easier where it's h-uu i-.i-i- 
"the DBASE family" this page). DBASE II i^ :i- 
database programs as WORDSTAR is Eu 
word-processing programs. 

Unlike such "free-form" programs a; 
PFS:FILE, DBASE II requires a rigid d.ii.i 
structure. You must tell it the name ol .i li-ilc 
what kind of data will go into it (text, ■iNiin-tii 
or logical), and how many characters '"ii: tuiln 
will occupy Data entry is reasonably •■ !■■•; 
(WORDSTAR users will recognize the -diff.n 
commands), but how do you find the 
information once it's in? Simpler file 
managers prompt you or give you a funn in 
fill in. DBASE II gives you a dot. Periou mu 
must type in DBASE II commands juM ■!'■ .'n.! 
would in BASIC. Just as with BASIC, ,'ui i .in 
string together a series of commands, -i .i tii> 
and feed the file to DBASE. But isn't that 
programming? Right. Flexible if you 
understand it, frustrating if you don't. Many 
who have shelled out full dollar for the 
program never do understand it. 

Though DBASE II is a relational database 
management system, in practice you can only 
use two files at once. It requires little 
memory but sorting is slow, report 
capabilities are fairly rudimentary and it 
requires programming for practically all but 
the most simple reports. Think long and hard 
about how you want to interact with DBASE 
before you buy it. If you don't want "custom" 
processing, you might want a simpler file 
manager, or one of the other DBMSs reviewed 
in this section. 


You must define tlie structure of your database 
rigidly before DBASE II can accept data. 

(continued on p. 86) 

(continued from p. 85) 

cousin are easy to learn and use (great for 
teaching beginners) but very limited in total 
capabilities compared with DBASE. DBASE is 
a full-fledged, high-level programming 
language for data manipulation. DBASE 
programs can be quite cranky to set up and 
debug, but they make possible all sorts of 
customized applications. Despite misleading 
ad campaigns that label it "user friendly," 
however, DBASE is really best employed by a 
trained programmer. It's very dependable, 
having been debugged through several 
revisions, and there is a large and growing 
library of DBASE programs, many in the 

DBASE ll's programming language makes it 
extremely flexible, but many people will find it 
difficult to learn. 

public domain, which are useable without 
modification by any computer running 

JIM WHITESCARVER: It is the only package 
I've found that does just about every data- 
conversion task you're likely to need on a 
micro. Any report you can print to a file can 
be loaded into DBASE. If your data outgrows 
your spreadsheet, you can load it into 
DBASE. You can capture a report on your 
micro from a remote host and load it easily 
into a DBASE file. You can reformat it, and 
use the data with CBASIG, MBASIG, and 1-2-3 
if desired. I'd sure like to find a low-cost 
DBMS that can do even some of the tricks 
that DBASE does, but I haven't found one yet. 

TONY FANNING: Now that DBASE III is with 
us, the remaining DBASE II bugs may never 
be fixed. 

Movin' onup . . . 


Version 1.1; Copy-protected; $695; IBM PC/XT/AT 
and compatibles; AT&T 6300, 7300; DG/ONE; 
Tandy 1200; Tl Pro-Lite; Tl Professional; 256K; 
Astiton-Tate, 10150 W. Jefferson Blvd., Culver 
City, CA 90230; 800/437-4329, ext. 2341 or, in CO, 
303/799-4900, ext. 2341. 

Number of fields permitted per database: limited 

only by disk space 

Records per file: limited by available disk space 

Fields per record: 128 

Characters per field: up to 4K bytes per entry 

is DBASE III. It's big and faster'n'hell at 

doing all the stuff that DBASE II did 
slower'n'hell, like sorting and indexing. 
DBASE III outdoes DBASE II in the numbers 
game (128 fields to 32, 4000 characters/ 
record to 1000, a billion records to 64K, 10 
data files can be open instead of 2, etc.), so 
that it can manage bigger and more complex 
databases. It also has a decent online help 
system that includes prompting as well as 
quick lookup of all commands. 

The main reason for getting DBASE III, just 
as it was for getting DBASE II, is to develop 
customized database management 
applications via its programming language. 
If you have developed or used DBASE II 
applications, you can (more or less) 
automatically convert them to DBASE III and 

they'll really wail. DBASE III also includes a 
QUIGKGODE-like screen generator, which 
makes life a lot simpler for beginners. Some 
DBASE II commands have been retired and a 
lot of new ones put in place, but old DBASE 
II users will find the new kid familiar. And 
the old annoying DBASE II bugs are gone!— - 
probably to be replaced by new ones . . . 

WAYNE GHIN: You can almost forgive 
DBASE III for being merely what DBASE II 
should have been when it was converted to 
16-bit machines a couple of years ago. But 
the Ashton-Tate practice of forcing you to 
use the system diskette (even with a hard- 
disk system) as a key disk to start DBASE III 
is almost unbearable for developers. 

G«t an 0L5 Screen Im Disk: 

"Custdiuzeildiff ^Screen ; Design|:oi)i«ntls : {;j 'a^^^Mmk 
CustMiieSourScMM 'Settings ;(Hldtllsllengt]^^etcy:iJ^ 
TuMon theQIICH!M;Hera:Genewtop;.?|i:.^ 
Changeft#Output OptionsV(see hsttelw)!^;^^^?^;^: ;: X 

Generate HE ttostm;. : rESC ;yknerate^ust^fl^ G 
m M =0 :• FftU . GEI - : 

WImrWm IS: - NOHftHE (AOIO PILOI 0(i) 

:?S»;(::*;/:- ::■-■;. ::"ZHin:C«lttND\> ^.^^v,;- :-■.■- 

QUICKCODE lets you "paint" an entry screen and 
automatically creates DBASE II programs for 
entering, searching, printing, and modifying data. 
This main menu gives you some idea of the 
program's flexibility. 

QUICKCODE II: Version 2.1C; most CP/M 

machines; 64K © version 2.2; IBM PC/MS-DOS 

machines; 180K; copy-protected? NO 

© QUICKCODE III: IBM PC and compatibles only; 

copy-protected? YES; $295; Fox & Geller, Inc., 604 

Market St., Elmwood Park, NJ 07407; 




Everyman's Database Primer, Robert Byers; 1982; 
295 pp.; $19.95; Ashton-Tate, 10150 W. Jefferson 
Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230; 213/204-5570; or 

TONY FANNING: DBASE II is a strange 
mixture of flexibility and incompleteness. You 
can program it to do damn near anything, 
including creating input menus and very 
complex report programs. But you may not 
want to take the time or effort to do it. An 
army of add-on packages now do this for you. 

QUICKCODE allows you to "paint" menus 
and formats on the screen; it then generates 
DBASE programs that you can use for data 
input and report output. As with most 
program generators, the result is slower 
operation. And it doesn't really remove the 
need to understand the DBASE language. The 
cost can be high, too. I know one sad person 
who paid about $1000 for DBASE and 
QUICKCODE so she could generate a menu- 
driven application that PFS:FILE could easily 
have handled for $150. 

Books explaining personal computer 
programs are an industry in themselves; a 
large subindustry is books explaining DBASE 
II. The clearest is Everyman's Database 
Primer. It uses DBASE as an extended 
example while it teaches the basics of data 
management with simplicity and humor. 




A faster, more helpful contender . . . 

Version 1.15; IBM PC/H/AT compatibles ® HP 150; 
256K; $495 ® Burroughs computer; CTOS ® NCR 
computer; BTOS; $795; copy-protected? YES; 
mXmfm, 3380 146th PL, S.E., Bellevue, WA 
98004; 206/641-6619. 

Number of files permitted per database: 40 
Records per file: 2.5 billion (limited by file size of 
operating system) 
Fields per database: 400 
Characters per field: 1500 

WAYNE CHIN: R:BASE is far easier to use 
than DBASE II. Its lielp and prompting 
facilities make life easier for the new user. 
Querying facilities match those of DBASE II; 
basic report-generation capabilities and 
relational operations are better. R:BASE 
removes the severe limitations that DBASE II 
puts on the size of a database and the number 
of records in it, so the user doesn't have to 
worry about such details. 

But DBASE II has one significantly better 
feature: The user can define command files 
that can save lots of keystrokes or build fairly 
sophisticated applications. R:BASE has a 
command-file capability, but these 
commands are limited to what can be typed in 
from the keyboard. DBASE II provides 
additional constructs such as IF-ELSE, DO- 
WHILE, and DO-CASE, that allow for flexible 
programs that respond automatically to some 

TONY FANNING: R:BASE selects at about the 
same speed as DBASE II and sorts better than 
twelve times faster on unindexed files. 
R:BASE has a good help facility, a moderately 
good demo and tutorial, consistent report 
generation and input screen building (though 
a little puzzling the first time through), and a 
very good set of relational operations. 
R:BASE can prompt you for most commands; 
it takes some getting used to, but once you 
grasp the syntax it becomes quite simple 
and does not get in the way. Although the 
writers apparently hoped to reach a less 
sophisticated audience, the documentation is 
written in language for programmers. For 
practical use, you'd better have a serious, 
"industrial strength" job to do, and you'll 
need a hard disk. 

R:BASE interfaces to RIM (a mainframe 
relational database manager), MULTIPLAN, 
and packages with ASCII files (including 

Anyttiing you can do . . 


Version 1.0; $700; IBM PC/XT/AT/compatibles; 
256K; Not copy-protected; Microrim, Inc., 3380 
146th PI. SE, Bellevue, WA 98004; 206/641-6619. 

Number of files permitted per database: 40 
Records per file: Maximum DOS file size 
Fields per record: up to 400 
Characters per field: 1500 

CLIFFORD FIGALLO: The high-end database 
leapfrog between Ashton-Tate and Microrim 
continues with the appearance of R:BASE 
5000. R:BASE 4000 was an improvement 
over DBASE II with a few exceptions; 
R:BASE 5000 took care of those exceptions 
and moved a bit ahead of DBASE III by 
adding strength in both the power and ease- 
of-use ends. 

On the power end, they have added a 
procedural language with logical functions 
such as If, Then, Else, and Goto (included in 
DBASE II, but missing in R:BASE 4000). 
These plus a built-in compiler (not available 
in DBASE II or III) make the program 
especially attractive to turnkey application 
developers and erode one of DBASE's former 
advantages over the Microrim product. 
R:BASE 5000 comes with a custom macro 
creator and pre-programmed macros 
including one for posting transactions. Also, 
the report writer includes many of the 

People who don't want to write programs 
can use the menu-driven Application Express 
(Apex) which leads you through the steps 
necessary to create a custom application. Of 
course Apex isn't as flexible as entering 
straight commands, but it does give you 
quick database setup and easy 
modification—particularly if you're using a 
trial-and-error method of database 

R:BASE 5000 probably won't have as wide a 
user base as DBASE III which is the easiest 
upgrade for the enormous number of DBASE 
II programmers and their applications. But at 
the same price it includes all the power (plus 
a compiler) and more convenience. With 
good marketing and support, it could well 
take a big bite out of the DBASE market. 


Version 1.2; IBM PC/XT compatibles « HP 150; 
256K; ® Burroughs computer; CTOS ® NCR 
computer; BTOS; copy-protected? NO; $150; 
Microrim, 3380146th PI., S.E., Bellevue, WA 
98004; 206/641-6619. 

WAYNE CHIN: R:BASE XRW adds report- 
writing capabilities far beyond those provided 
in the standard package. XRW's user interface 
is consistent with R:BASE's-— menus are 
used and online help facilities are available 
upon request. Users do not have to write 
a program to generate reports, as they 
must with DBASE II, although some 
"programming" may be necessary. The body 
of a report can refer to more than one 
database; subsets and sorting are allowed; 
and limited arithmetical computations can be 
made. The report can be directed to the 
printer or to the screen. 

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R:BASE help screens are always just a few 
keystrokes away. If you aren't sure exactly how an 
R:BASE command works, it will prompt you 
through it. 






Norris Aviation Service 
1432 Airport Way 
Renton, WA 98026 





Aviation Fuel 01/13/84 15000 GAL 
Lubricant, 10w-30 M/Oil 01/14/84 180 CASE 
Lubricant, 30W HP 01/17/83 -04 CASE 







Previous Balance 


Amount Due: 


Complex tabular reports are XRW's forte. 


Picture a relational database 


Version 1.13; $395; Macintosh (512K); one 
external disk drive or hard disk; Not copy- 
protected; Odesta Corp.; 3186 Doolittle Dr.; 
Northbrook, IL 60062; 800/323-5423 or, in IL, 

'' ^ File Edit Icons Options OK|)!at| ^imxv.\^ im\\ SUjJg 

Querying the database, HEUX-style. Translation: 
Shaeler only orders quills that are queen-size and 
are either green or brown. The graphic approach 
taken here using calculation Tiles makes all the 
ditlerence between the time-consuming learning 
curve that would have been necessary to program 
these myriad lunctions and an afternoon of 
eMperimentation during which most of a user's 
applications could be mastered. 

relational database manager (and a good 
one), it offers tools for loading and 
extracting information that I only dreamed of 
up until now— partly because of the 
program's ingenious implementation of the 
Macintosh graphics capabilities. 

A typical HELIX screen contains a palette 
area (with icons identifying choices) and a 
window (onto which you drag chosen items). 
You create a data entry form (template) by 
moving boxes from the palette onto the 
screen. You create a record by typing data 
into the boxes. The boxes (fields) can stretch 
to any size and be expanded or shrunk at any 
time— in HELIX, there are no "field lengths" 
or "record lengths" or "maximum fields per 

Data in HELIX is organized by "collections." 
Collections are made of "relations"— 
groups of selected (related) fields, forms 
and indexes. (In one relation you might 
include names, addresses, phone numbers, 
social security numbers; a second one would 
have names, job titles, and current projects; 
a third might have job title, salary, and social 
security number). How do you tell HELIX 
two fields are related? Simply move the 
boxes onto the relation window. 

Collections are created in much the same 
way. You can load up the window with icons 
representing relations, templates, selections, 
and Abacuses and keep on loading while the 
window auto-scrolls. (Be prepared for a 

slowdown in icon selection as the window 
fills up, however.) 

The Abacus is HELIX'S most unique and 
powerful feature. By dragging this icon onto 
the screen, you can query the database, 
compare values in fields, cause the program 
to display messages according to field or 
calculated values, and put data from one 
relation into another. In addition, the Abacus 
gives you 52 calculation icons called Tiles for 
functions ranging from basic arithmetic to 
Boolean operators to trigonometric functions 
to compound interest and annuity rates. 
Tiles can be chained together (you draw 
arrows between them on the screen) under 
one Abacus function and other Abacus 
functions can be plugged into Calculation 
Tiles to form nested commands. With 
HELIX'S graphics, you can actually see the 

At the moment, HELIX can't include pictures 
in its database nor exchange data with other 
programs. (Perhaps in future versions.) 
Still, HELIX is powerful, fun and easy to use, 
with error protection that borders on the 
prescient and user help facilities at every 
turn. (If you try to carry out inconsistent 
commands, the program refuses— and 
politely tells you why.) HELIX even 
automatically saves data at intervals you 
select. Since the maximum size of a HELIX 
collection is limited only by disk space, a 
hard disk is recommended for most business 

^M Display Special 

Database Fields 







S.ZIP T 5 



Key Length 16 

Total Length 16 



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Creating and deleting indexes in MRCLION is 
easy Point to the fields you want to use as key 
lields and click your mouse. The total length 
cannot exceed 27 characters. The more records 
you have on the database, the longer MACLION 
takes to create the index. 

Traditional database management . . . 

IM ^ 1^ i I CI M ^^ 
IfillliLIUIl ^J 

Version 3.1; $379; Macintosh 128K or 512; Copy- 
protected; Computer Software Designs, Inc., 1904 
Wright Circle, Anaheim, CA, 92806; 

Number of files permitted per database: unlimited 
Records per file: unlimited 
Fields per record: unlimited 
Characters per field: 255 

featured relational database program worthy 
of hard-disk-sized applications. Unlike HELIX 
with its visual tools, in MACLION the most 
noticeable advance over the top-of-the-line 
MS-DOS-based programs is in the use of 
pull-down menus and other Macintosh user 
interface conventions— which contribute to 
ease of use, but don't strike out in new 

Why choose MACLION over HELIX? Two 
reasons: experienced database program 
users will find HELIX'S visual tools 
cumbersome, and people who wish to 
develop their own applications can take 
advantage of LEO, MACLION's programming 
development language. 

MACLION is a more traditional database 
manager than HELIX— more like SMART (p. 
89), for example — but with several deluxe 
features. Relations can be "protected" from 
alteration and MACLION will prevent 
duplicate entries with a simple menu choice 
instead of a complex programming 
command. MACLION can create screen 
forms that enter data into two relations at the 
same time. Good data validation and error 
messages prevent data entry mistakes and a 
data dictionary maintains data in one place 
so that a change in a record in one file will 
also change the data in all associated files. 
Browsing through records is easy, reports 
can be created including data from many 
relations, and query commands can pull data 
out in many configurations and formats. 
Fields can be totalled in query or report 
modes and you can create macro files of 
commands. MACLION's two biggest 
problems are that key fields are limited to 27 
characters and alphanumeric fields are 
sorted with all capitals first (ASCII-based 
sorting) which means you'd get ALPHA 
before Abacus. 

Compared to HELIX, MACLION is a straight 
but highly competent program. 





Automatic starter, 

automatic transmission . . . 

IBM PC/XT compatibles; 192K; copy-protected? 
YES; $395; ASAP Systems, Inc., 2425 Porter St., 
Soquel, CA 95073; 408/476-3935. 

Numtier of files permitted per database: no limit 
Records per file: 65,534 
Fields per record: no limit 
Characters per field: 80 

database to choose if you love menus and 
function keys as a way to drive a program. 
SIX hardly uses anything else. 

If there is an easier user interface in the 
relational DBMS marketplace, I have not 
seen it. There are no commands to learn 
even if you like memorizing things. The 
program asks you questions when 
something you try to do is not clear to it, 
and more often than not, prompts you with a 
list of possible answers before you have to 
commit yourself. 

There is a menu at the bottom of the screen 
at all times (similar to MICROSOFT WORD, 
p. 60) that lists your options at that location 
within the program. If you get confused, the 
F1 key displays context sensitive help 
messages throughout the program. 

SIX will automatically create a data entry 
form using fields you designate, or you can 
custom design the data entry screen. You 
can order a number in one field to be posted 

Facile browsing 


Version 1.0; $495, street $336; IBM PC/XT/AT/ 
compatibles; 256K; 2 disk drives or hard disk; Not 
copy-protected; Innovative Software, Inc., 9300 
West 110th St., Suite 380, Overland Park, KS 
66210; 913/383-1089. 

Number of files permitted per database: unlimited 
Records per file: 1 million 
Fields per record: 255 
Characters per field: 1000 

4000 (p. 87) to this program for keeping 
track of the Whole Earth software library. I 
like it because it saves me from having to 
think too much about the program. It feeds 
me menu screens which I've come to know 
almost by heart, and through which I flip 
and scan, chaining the command sequences 
with single keystrokes and assembling 
frequently-used sequences into Projects 
which can automatically be set in motion 
with the Execute command. A User Menu 
can be written for untrained database 
operators using the Projects you set up. 

The SMART DATA MANAGER is also a very 
informative program. It can present your 

automatically to another field— sell two 
widgets to Mr. Myrtle and two widgets get 
subtracted from the total number of widgets 
in inventory. At the same time the total 
amount of the invoice gets added to Mr. 
Myrtle's total balance due in a third file. 
Features like edit masking, range checking, 
and automatic incrementing of numbers 
make data entry smooth and accurate. 

Once records have been stored, an easy 
relational query system is available to select, 
modify, or delete a subset of records 
through a series of menu options and 
prompts. Multiple file updates are routine 
and even spreadsheet-like "what-if" changes 
can be experimented with. 

ASAP SIX is really more geared toward 
written reports of stored data than it is 
toward on-screen browsing through, and 
editing of, data. Reports easily handle totals, 
counts, and averages and can be up to 232 
characters wide. You can sort or select on 
any field, and the built-in word processor, 
although rudimentary, is better than those in 
many relational DBMS packages. 

A field is limited to 80 characters, so SIX 
isn't good for note-taking. But because all 
the items on any two data entry screens can 
be married to each other by placing the same 
indexed field at the top of each, there is 
really no limit to how many fields you can 
create per record. The number of files and 
the number of records and characters per file 
are also limited only by the amount of space 
in your system. Practically speaking, 
though, about 10 to 12 files will be the 
working limit even in a 640K PC. 

files as row and column tables, let you 
browse forward and backward through the 
file, scroll across the screen and browse 
down any column you wish, jump to given 
records, zoom in on a chosen record and 
modify it, and then resume browsing. You 
can split the screen in two and watch two 
files interact as you query one and see its 
associated record appear in the other. 
SMART handles such relations between files 
easily. Lookups from one file to another, 
while not simple to implement, are easy to 
set up as macros where variables can be 
entered manually. The Relate command lets 
you form new files from the relations of two 
others, and Transactions can be used to post 
from one file to another for accounting 

The SMART DATA MANAGER can operate as 
a standalone or as part of the SMART 
SYSTEM (p. 112) including a word processor 
and a very powerful spreadsheet. I use it 
alone, and it does the job well. 

The SMART DATA MANAGER can load two tiles at 
once (in this case, Programs and their Vendors) 
and automatically look up a program's vendor 
inlormation. The pop-up window across the 
bottom of the screen gives you a choice of fields 
for entering search criteria. 

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ii(i 101:1 LIKE ;a:___ 

With one function icey (F9M0DiFY FIELD), 
ASAP SIX lets you expand any Held length on this 
data entry screen. 

This string of commands in edit mode is called a 
Project. You build a Project in the SMART DATA 
MANAGER by entering Remember and then 
entering the series of menu choices to set up 
your desired screen or function. 

FIELD EMTr 'S=i.lete ch.r "V^i""--* hole- :^=rH.ove record fro. .le^.. 
OTHEft: ^ «,ttfre screen 'U^print ■for«;^^0=yr.nt d.t. .^ J« ? ^^ f 
end/exit: -B=end entry .*H=next record . .'?=prev record E.exit .ode 

228 Orange County , 
Model by fl. S. Hinsen, Inc.: 
'(415) 461:- 617rv : ;; 

Job Code 1868_ Co.p»n« Code _7BB1 

: Mitch _= Bonus Percent .• 

Number of Incu.bents __1 Average Si lary. 13288 

Paid LoM .13288 Paid Higb .13288 f 

Min .11588 Mid .14528 Max .17528 • 

SIC Code ^9988 Geographic locationVCode, 

Form design and data editing are two strong 
points of INFOSTAR + . Here is a custom- 
designed data entry screen witii its Wordstar- iike 
editing menu. 

If WORDSTAR is your idea of wonderful, 
you might like this . . . 


IBM PC/XT compatibles; 96K ® MS-DOS 
computers including TRS-80 2000, DEC Rainbow, 
Tl Professional; 96K; hard disk recommended; 
copy-protected? NO; $295; MicroPro International 
Corp., 33 San Pablo Ave., San Rafael, CA 94903; 

Number of files permitted per database: 255 
Records per file: 65,535 
Fields per record: 245 
Characters per field: 120 

MicroPro, the WORDSTAR (p. 56) people. It 
can easily move reports to WORDSTAR for 
editing, and its control-commands are similar 
to WORDSTAR'S (though confusingly not 
identical). If you have other packages in the 
-STAR family (like CALCSTAR), you 
might want it, since data can be transferred 
among them. Or you might want something 
cheaper and easier to use. 

INFOSTAR's large records, fast sorting, 
extensive reporting, and data-entry controls 
may make it attractive to some, particularly in 
production environments. But its confusing 

complexity may turn others away. The 
creation of databases and sophisticated 
reports is definitely not for beginners, though 
once it's set up, novices can use INFOSTAR. 

BILL GUNS: My first impression is that any 
database manager that requires three 
manuals is daunting. That is also my second, 
third, and fourth impression. 

best report writer available in the micro 
computer database market. It takes multiple 
file input and gives multiple file output as well 
as being able to produce the most 
complicated reports with ease. The data entry 
and edit section of the program shows its 
mini and main-frame design origins with its 
extreme flexibility and ease of use. It does all 
this from a menu structure which means a 
non-programmer like me can produce 
complicated reports without needing to 
understand "do whiles" and "end ifs." What 
is really great is that the entire program runs 
from a menu structure so all I have to do is 
respond to questions to get my work done. I 
would like to have square roots and logs as 
mathematical functions within the processing 
module, but so far, I have not yet found a 
database application which I could not do 
with INFOSTAR + . 

to academic scholarship, and probably won't satisfy a more 
general need. 

TONY FANNING: Much of what we really need to organize— 
words, notes, ideas — can't be categorized precisely enough to 
fit into tables or other rigid structures. Nor can we organize them 
easily with word processors, which are really tools for 
formatting our words on paper, not for cataloging, saving, 
searching, and combining them in idea blocks. 

But there are programs that manage text in many of the ways 
that a file manager handles structured data, and there will be 
many more in the future. These new programs for helping us 
corral what we really love— our thoughts and ideas— are much 
more fun to use than the cut-and-dried file managers and 
DBMSs we might need to organize our businesses. 

There are three types of "garbage bags." First are programs like 
SUPERFILE and DATAFAX, which we might call indexers— 
they're electronic highlighting pens. They allow you to organize 
blocks of unstructured information— like long text passages— 
by marking key words and phrases within them. You can quickly 
retrieve a whole text item later by knowing only one of the key 
words or phrases you marked it with. They're especially suited 

Then there are file managers that can handle blocks of text 
easily, allowing you to create (almost) free-form screens for 
entering information. PFS:FILE (p. 80) can do so within its 
limitation, but freer-form text-file managers let us lay out an 
entry-screen form and later search for any word or phrase we 
entered in it. 

A few database management systems, like NUTSHELL (p. 93), 
are designed for organizing text as well as structured data. 
Because text can be of any length, such a DBMS must permit 
fields of any (variable) length, and dealing with this complication 
can slow performance down considerably. 

Finally, there are outlining tools, like the remarkable THINKTANK 
(p. 92) and FRAMEWORK (p. 110). They let you arrange 
headlines and chunks of text in an outline form , with subordinate 
headline/text chunks visually "indented" under others. You can 
then move text easily by moving the headline associated with 
it— great for brainstorming and rearranging presentations, 
articles, manuals, and general documents. 


Free-form notes, bibliographies . . . 

Runs on most MS-DOS (128K) and CP/M (64K) 
machines; copy-protected? NO; Software 
Marketing Associates, 4615 W. Bee Caves Rd., 
Austin, TX 78746; 512/327-2882. 

Number of files permitted per database: 100/disl( 
Entries per database: 65,000 
Characters per entry: 512,000 
Unique keys per database: 3,000 

expensive big sister, FYI 3000, $395) lets you 
index free-form blocks of text created with 
your word processing program, rather than 
requiring data that's organized into fields and 
records. One regrettable limitation is its need 
to re-index whenever you modify a text block. 

However, it can index over more than one 
diskette, so a group of references can growt 
a fair size and still be searchable. 

managing notes and making bibliographic 
records. Its biggest improvement in its new 
version is the automatic re-indexing feature, 
allowing data from a new file on the data disl- 
to be indexed into an existing database by a 
quick and easy menu-driven procedure. Othr 
recent improvements include an automatic 
check of dictionary and index files whenever 
you start it to make sure these files are intaC 
and in good working order; a utility that 
appends parts of files to the ends of other 
files without writing over them; and the abilil , 
to keep up to 100 datafiles on single disk (of 
course, databases can be made up of many 
disks), which takes advantage of higher- 
capacity disk systems. 

SUPERFILE scans text created by a word-processor 
for key words and phrases, then sorts and indexes 
them— as here, in excerpts from books reviewed 
f'nWhole Earth Catalog. 

Like a highlighter pen . . . 

IBM PC/XT/AT and compatibles (MS-DOS); 128K; 
$299 ® IBM PC/XT/AT (Pascal); 128K; $299 
• Apple II family and Apple III; 64K; $249 ® Corvus 
Concept; $299; copy-protected? NO; All Easy 
Corporation, Vertical Software Division, RO. Box 
10459, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292; 800/255-3279 
or, in CA, 213/827-8500. 

Number of files permitted per database: 3000 
Records per file: 255 
Fields per record: limited by screen 
Characters per field: limited by screen 

GIL SYSWERDA: DATAFAX (version 2.4a) is 
one of the most useful programs I have. It 
absorbs all the little facts I want to remember 
but don't know how to file. It allows very easy 
updating, retrieval, format-free data entry, 
and error recovery. It also comes with a built- 
in text editor DATAFAX will not allow a 
database to span volumes, and volumes 
cannot span diskettes, but volumes can be as 
large as 16 megabytes, so if you have a hard 
disk .... 

The logical organization within DATAFAX is 
that of a folder. There can be as many folders 
per database as will fit. Each folder contains 
pages, of which, again, there can be any 

Each page contains exactly as much 
information as will fit on one physical screen. 
You enter data into pages with a text editor. 
There are absolutely no format restrictions 
except those you invent yourself. When you 
save folders, you save them with associated 
key words. These key words either come 
from the text (you point them out to the 
system) or are arbitrarily entered. 

You find folders by specifying key words in 
logical combinations, and can display, print, 
or edit them. If the system is used as 
intended, most folders contain only one page, 
and that page contains only a few lines. The 
key words hold things together. 

If I read a magazine article (I read a lot) that I 
think I might want as a reference later, I enter 
onto one DATAFAX page the source of the 
article, the topic, and a very brief summary. I 
then key word it in every possible way. If in 
the future I want to know what articles 
(books) I have read about topics X and Y, I 
can find out in seconds from DATAFAX. 

CHARLES SPEZZANO: Record retrieval in 
DATAFAX is very sophisticated. You create 
intricate strings of key words connected by 
"ands" and "ors." You can use ranges and 
wild cards and nested parentheses for 
sorting. If you know the key word, you can 
find a record in two seconds. Key words do 
not have to be added in a separate step after 
you create a record. Any word in your text can 
be easily tagged as soon as you have typed it. 
All these key words go into a list into which 
you can also add words not in the record 

JAMES V. MCGEE: Using DATAFAX is like 
writing a note to yourself and highlighting all 
the words you might use later to retrieve the 
note. You can start a new database without 
any prior planning; just load in a disk and 
start entering and filing data. You can let the 
structure evolve as your information does. 

System performance is generally good, but 
setting up a new disk (which you must do 
before entering any data) is frustratingly slow. 

When I timed it, it took well over five minutes. 
If you are sufficiently impatient you may never 
wait to use the program itself. Also, because 
it runs under the UGSD p-system, DATAFAX 
uses the disks much more heavily than PC 
DOS programs, resulting in slower operation. 

The manuals are extensive and well written in 
a refreshingly human and personal style. 
They describe other users' experiences and 
suggest a variety of clever ways to take 
advantage of DATAFAX's unusual design 
philosophy— in enough depth to trigger your 
own thinking on potential uses. 

You can enter text into DATAFAX randomly (without 
fields) and go back later to search for key words- 
all recipes with "1 cup cream" in this database, 
for instance. Though it's not shown here, you 
could highlight individual words for easier sorting 



-I ;_! ■ ■_■■; I _ - -;. 1-;'. ! 
J'«L''''-t^ ■/■.■' ^i't'l::iirr:i'!y ■-■i'-V--^ -r. ..-f.- '■■... i;.- ; ^!^ 

Outlining witti botii sides oftlie brain . 

•■: .■.;;..-. i- -■- ..-...'.•spjjrL;;ri-'0'u;!..:u 

iV..- . : .1! '.'.I ,i\ I 

Vbif can expand your THINKTANK outline easily by 
pressing the + key, or . . . 

' '"■/JJT "'■' ':'■ ■I'-'-M- 
■ • ..t '.hi .!', ■,i' 

. . . collapse your outline so you can see tlie big 

i Fiki Edit Presentation lUM)ns!*ni?p Cuuor P!«1«!«rHPs 

Seatt le flariners 

San Francisco Giants 

Using the Macintosh Scrapbook, images can be 
imported Into THINKTANK, organized and 
presented as an automatic or manually-advanced 
slide show. 


Version 2.0; Apple 11 family; 64K; $150 o IBM PC/ 
XT/AT compatibles; 256K; $195 © Version 1.001; 
Apple Macintosh (THINKTANK 128); $145 
® Version 1.00; Macintosh (MAC 512 THINKTANK); 
$245; copy-protected? NO (Apple II); YES (others); 
Living Videotext, Inc., 2432 Charleston Rd., 
Mountain View, CA 94043; 415/964-6300. 

TONY FANNING: Shortly after I started using 
full-screen editors (nowadays called "word 
processors"), I discovered that the way to 
write with them was to start typing one-liners 
to prime the pump, then indent some and 
move them under others. Sort of like making 
an outline. Then I typed in between the one- 
liners until I said what I needed to say. Then I 
agonized and rearranged, using fairly clumsy 
block moves. Then I edited. 

Later I was introduced to "patterning" by 
Tony Buzan (Use Both Sides of Your Brain, 

E.P. Dutton, 1976). This kind of organizing is 
topologically equivalent to outlining, and 
visual to boot. It generated lots of beginnings 
for me, but I can't write much on a pattern, 
and recopying the pattern into outline form is 
a nuisance. 

THINKTANK on my IBM PC combines the best 
of both methods. When I use it, I start with a 
blank screen with the word HOME at the top. I 
furiously type one-liners ("headlines") at the 
screen. These are the basic ideas of the 
outline I will create, if I already have a good 
idea of the structure of my ideas. If I don't, 
and this is where TT really helps, it's stream- 
of-consciousness outpouring. I think of this 
as my brainstorming phase. 

After a while I notice that some ideas in the 
headlines are contained in others, and I 
simply move them under the main ideas using 
the cursor-control keys. It's as easy as 
shuffling little bits of paper, but gives me a far 
greater feeling of a growing structure. Soon I 
have subordinate ideas neatly indented under 
other ideas, perhaps to many levels of 
subordination. It begins to look like an 

Every headline followed by subordinate ideas 
has a + (plus sign) in front of it, and every 
headline with none has a - (minus sign). If I 
position the "bar cursor" over one of the 
plussed headlines and press the minus key, 
all subordinate material disappears (I can 
bring it back with a plus). This neatly lines up 
all my main topics. If one seems out of order I 
can easily move it. If something's missing I 
can add it, or drop down a level and promote 
what was a subordinate idea to mainhood. 

At any point I can enter text as "paragraphs" 
attached to any headline. In fact, I can import 
whole files of text from outside my "outline." 
I can move big chunks of ideas around, and I 
do. When I'm done I can printout, or view, or 
file the outline to any depth of detail, or the 
entire document with all text. Neat. 

What's it good for? Starting to write. Writer's 
block. Refining expositions or presentations. 
Keeping notes that you can use later. 
Brainstorming. Revenge on your seventh- 
grade English teacher, who taught you what 
an outline is, but never taught you how flat- 
out useful it can be. 

PHILIP ELMER-DEWITT: Best use I've found 
so far: to lay out the stories I write for Time 
magazine. Time pieces tend to be highly 
structured, so it helps to know where you're 
going before you start. My thoughts, alas, 
tend to issue forth helter-skelter, bearing 
little resemblance either to normal human 
discourse or to the shape of a typical Time 

So the night before I'm scheduled to write a 
story, I type my ideas into THINKTANK as 
they arise. Then I use the program's outlining 
features to rearrange them, putting the A's 
with the A's and the B's with the B's. The key 
ideas tend to bubble to the highest levels of 
the outline while the supporting details fall to 
lower levels. 

When I'm done, what I've got is a list of key 
or topic ideas buttressed with my best quotes 
and anecdotes. Then I write, using the outline 
as a guide. Even when I forget to refer to the 
outline, it seems to shape the story. On 
occasion I've gone back to look at a 
THINKTANK file I'd forgotten about and found 
the resemblance between topic ideas and 
finished Time paragraphs uncanny. 

Once I used the program to outline a speech. 
I found I didn't even have to flesh it out on a 
word processor; simply spoke ex tempore 
from the THINKTANK printout. 

I don't think I ever got the hang of outlining 
back in high school. I tended to lose my 
structure in the flood of illustrative detail. 
Now that this program has made outlining 
something of a game, I'm much more likely 
to do it. Perhaps that's the key. 

CLIFFORD FIGALLO: Well, I thought 
THINKTANK on the Apple lie was a clever little 
program, and I thought THINKTANK on the 
IBM PC was a great help to the terminally 
disorganized like myself, but THINKTANK 512 
on the Fat Mac is such a fluid method of 
entering and rearranging thoughts— without 
even having to think about letting your fingers 
do the talking— that I'm not sure what the 
next step can be in hooking up your mind, 
your hand, your eye and words. You do have 
to type in your ideas. But, once on the 
screen, with mouse in hand and eye on 
screen, you can chop, dice, stir, grate, and 
spread your ideas effortlessly until your word 
salad looks the way you want it. 



Finds anything . . . 

Version 1.29; $150; IBM PC/XT and compatibles; 
Not copy-protected; Leading Edge Software 
Products, Inc., 21 Highland Circle, Needham, MA 
02194; 800/343-3436 or, in MA, 617/449-4655. 

Number of files permitted per database: limited 

by disk space 

Records per file: limited by disk space 

Fields per record: 60,000 

Characters per field: 16 million, subject to disk 

space limitations. 

KEN MILBURN: If you do research, keep 
notes on scraps of paper or 3 x 5 cards, or 
fiave to matcfi a product to a client's 
requirements, you will find NUTSHELL a 
godsend. Employment agents, real estate 
salespeople, and librarians should find it 

In fact, I can't think of anyone who couldn't 
find several uses (ranging from client- 
tracking to recipe-keeping) for a package like 
this. Using the program is almost intuitive 
so chances are excellent that if you own it 
you will use it. 

KEN MILBURN: You can learn to use 
NUTSHELL productively in a few minutes, 
it's so flexible you can stick all kinds of 
random notes and files into it. Once the 
information is in there, you can get it back 
out quickly and easily in any arrangement 
you desire. 

You create a form (used for entry, reports, 
or both) by typing prompts and field lengths 
on the screen in any arrangement. If you 
don't like the results when you've finished, 
you can move any part of the form to any 
other place where there's room for it. 

Now, suppose you've entered a few hundred 
records and you want to find only the 
records that contain specific sets of 
information. Just move the cursor to the 
appropriate field, type in as many key words 
(or selection criteria) as you want, press a 
couple of buttons and NUTSHELL will find 
the records. 

NUTSHELL indexes every single word in the 

You can have as many entry/report screens 
as you like for a single database. You can 
have as many records as your disk will hold, 
as many fields in the database as you like. 
Ditto the number of characters in a field. You 
can do calculated and derived fields using 
the standard four math functions. Logical 
operators work on mathematical fields as 
well as in sorting and finding data. And, 
NUTSHELL can easily transfer files to and 
from other programs, so long as they use 
some form of ASCII text file. 

Few things are perfect. NUTSHELL is not 
designed to handle automatic relationships 
between multiple data files. The program is 
not compatible with some "IBM- 
compatibles" and behaves oddly in a 
networked environment (PC-Net was tested). 

If you have an external hard disk that is not 
strictly IBM PC/XT compatible, test the 
program before you buy it. NUTSHELL is 
unforgiving of modifications to the operating 

the easiest, most self-evident way to create 
a database I've seen. Not the most feature- 
laden on the market, but no one I've seen 
makes it easier to fool around with the 
structure of a database. 

Laying out data entry forms with NUTSHELL 
begins witit a list of data fields from your file. 
Highlight a field and move the cursor where you 
want it, then hit RETURN. A file can have an 
unlimited number of forms with different 
combinations of fields in each one. 

Now iiere's a good finder . 

Rudi Diezmann; Version 1.0; Copy-protected; 
Macintosh 128K/512K; $150; Forethought, Inc., 
1973 Landings Dr., Mountain View, CA 94943; 

CLIFFORD FIGALLO: If you keep free-form 
records on separate documents in file 
folders, and your file folders have become 
many, and your searches for related 
documents are becoming a drag because 
records can only be located according to one 
search criterion-— that being the labels on the 
file folders themselves —FACTFINDER may 
be the solution to your problem. 

What FACTFINDER does is let you enter data 
that doesn't lend itself to insertion into a 
form, and create records that are not easy to 
categorize. Each record or document is 
entered as a Factsheet and each Factsheet 
may be assigned any number of Keywords. 
A collection of related Factsheets makes up a 
Stack. Keywords and combinations of 
Keywords can be used to locate a Factsheet 
or group of Factsheets. Iterative searches 
can then be performed on groups of Found 

Creating a document as a Factsheet can be 
done using FACTFINDER'S MACWRITE-like 
editor, or already-created MACWRITE 
documents can be loaded directly as new 
Factsheets. Likewise, Factsheets can be 
unloaded as MACWRITE or MACPAINT 
documents. Factsheet size and Stack size are 
memory-related. The maximum length of a 
Factsheet on a 51 2K Mac is about 30K. A 
Stack can be as large as 400K on a Mac 
disk; 1 megabyte on a hard disk. 

FACTFINDER is such a flexible program that 
its uses may vary widely, from keeping track 
of phone messages to keeping case files for 
a law office. A "labels" command prints only 
the first inch of each selected Factsheet, and 
the print options are many. 

Because of its effective use of the Desktop 
metaphor and the Macintosh conventions, 
FACTFINDER is quite a comfortable and 
natural-feeling program to use. The manual 
is complete and easy to follow, and I would 
follow the FACTFINDER suggestion to free up 
disk space by removing the Help Stack since 
I never once needed to refer to it. 

^ File Edit Stncic Factsheet Keys Utility Help 

Company Profile 

Galaxy Enterprises, Inc. 
1478E.Drydock Avenue 
East Keokuk, Iowa 

Galaxy is a manufacturer and 
marketer of stress-tested, 
reinforced mine tunnel support 
clamps. They currently control 75% 
of the market for support clamps. 
Revenue for 1986 is expected to 
grow by 33^ although the entire 
market size is shrinking by 21% per 
year due to new innovations in 
optically inspected support clamps. 

The CEO, James Smythe, was 

r.ii<>lii with Inicr-r-i 

Find in Gallery 

Names Found 

12 Factsheets in Stack 

pni Keys for Company Profile 

Created on 8/16/84 
Modified on 10/11/84 









ii¥t?) [Clear Keys] 

A FACTFINDER Factsheet and its accompanying 
windows: Keys, Names Found ("all" or by key 
combinations), and Find, where search criteria 
are entered. The Factsheet window can be 
enlarged to cover the entire screen if needed. 




Marsha iather-Thrift, Domain Editor 

MARSHA MATHER-THRIF: Lots of us have fantasies about 
gentle-hearted computers that work patiently all night at 
quarter's end and tax time, efficiently organizing stacks of 
calculations scribbled down during the course of the year. 
Although it's true that computers were designed to save 
enormous amounts of drudgery, it's easy to be taken in by 
visions of instant invoices and automatically paid bills. The 
truth, as every computer initiate knows, is not so rosy. 

But fantasy has elements of truth, and what's true here is the 
idea that computers keep things in place for you. Busy offices 
have a way of swallowing important papers— especially client 
charges and billings that need to get out on time to keep a small 
business solvent. Good accounting software not only keeps 
things in place, it saves time in repetitive entry and calculations 
as well as in locating errors and running calculator tapes. Being 
able to track expenses, materials, and labor hours is probably 
more vital for my small firm than it is for a vast corporation like 
Bechtel. And it's more vital still for the company that maintains 
an inventory and depends on stocking the goods in greatest 
demand. Accounting software can save you money, let you 
know quickly if you're losing money, and help you plan better 
ways to save in the future. 

Yet businesses are as unique as people, so the problem is to 
choose an accounting system flexible enough to fit individual 
requirements. A retail farm-equipment business isn't likely to 
have the same accounting needs as a nonprofit organization or a 
law office. Even the fellow who builds cabinets to sell at 

wholesale prices probably won't share accounting needs with 
his neighbor who builds half a dozen custom-paneled interiors a 

Take note: computer-store salespeople, who often present 
themselves as consultants, are really creatures of the sales 
trade. Most of them don't understand quite what it is that makes 
your business unique, and most are unwilling to recommend 
software they don't happen to sell— a basic flaw in their 
consulting role. 

In this section, we've set out to give you a useful range of 
accounting packages to mull over. We've left out software that 
merely duplicates your checkbook or tracks expenses and taxes 
in a limited way. And we've ignored spreadsheet programs that 
many people will tell you are complete enough to fill small- 
business needs. (They aren't. We've covered these in Analyzing, 
pages 64-77, where use value catches up with cost.) 

At the most basic level — personal finance — we've included 
programs (MANAGING YOUR MONEY p. 96, and DOLLARS 
AND SENSE, p. 97) that offer order-loving creatures a chance 
to organize their financial existence from birth to retirement. 
For the more complex needs of small business bookkeeping, 
we've included some inexpensive accounting packages 
(BOOKS!, p. 100, BPI, p. 100, and THE ACCOUNTING 
PARTNER, p. 99) which provide most standard functions and 
reports. We've isolated good tax preparation and planning 
programs for home and business. Then, for those who require 
interactive accounting and a variety of special reports, we've 
taken a look at more sophisticated packages (PEACHTREE 
that are well worth the investment for retailers (and others) 
who depend on inventory control and discount buying to beef 
up profit margin. 


STEWART BRAND: Accounting is so much of the essence, 
we pretend it isn't by making fun of accountants. To get a 
realistic sense of how important the matter is to your 
business or home, imagine that you've had a set of 
accounting programs working for about six months and you 
decide it's the wrong set. The extended agony of transition to 
new accounting software— what Jerry Weinberg calls "out- 
conversion" on p. 6— is a measure of your dependence. The 
same is true, of course, of your accounting people. 

I rank accountants with librarians— unsung heroes and 
heroines of civilization, worth far more to us all than lawyers, 
architects, doctors, and others in the glory trades. 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: Marsha Mather-Thrift is particularly 
well-suited to oversee this section. She's currently juggling 
two careers: researcher and office manager for an 
international consulting firm, and writer of fiction— short 
stories and a novel. Occasionally, when she has time, she 
does free-lance work (like this section of the [nonfiction] 
Catalog or book reviews for the San Francisco Chronicle) 
while managing the finances of her enterprise along with 
those of her family. With no time for false promises, she 
brings a critical and cautious eye to programs claiming to 
whisk accounting problems away. 

Marsha realized early that computers would be necessary at 
the pharmaceutical consulting firm where she works. There a 
small number of people process tons of information for U.S. 
and European clients trying to win FDA approval for their 
formulas. She began automating their office with 
CompuCorp's dedicated word-processing system and had 
just begun evaluating accounting programs for the office 
when I asked hertotakeon our Accounting domain. (She 
settled on BOOKS!, p. 100.) 

I was astonished when she 
said she'd give up her fiction- 
writing hours for a few 
months and, with six-month- 
old Caitlin in backpack, take 
on the project. And delighted 
... she had exactly the 
perspective I wanted for the 
section, and lord, can she 
research and write— impor- 
tant qualities for a domain 
whose copy deadlines fell 
in the middle of income 
tax season. 

Marsha Mather-Thrift 


Buyer Beware 

Treat your search for good business software the way you would 
an exciting but dangerous safari. Listen to advice from local 
experts, but keep your mind on your own crucial needs. Here 
are a few ideas. 


Every accounting program worth a second glance should have a 
manual in plain English that doesn't send you searching through 
volumes for set-up instructions. If you have employees, this is 
especially crucial, or you'll end up as an unwilling participant in 
the computer-support business. 


Look for flexibility in the areas where you need it most. If your 
business requires tracking interest on overdue debts, for 
example, make sure accounts receivable can "age" balances at 
several different rates. (Most in the upper price range age at 
30-60-90 and over 90 days.) If you have extensive accounts 
payable and can save money by making early payments, make 
sure your accounting system can provide you with reports that 
summarize stock on hand, discount payment dates, and vendor 
paymenthistory. (REALWORLD, p. 103,willdothis.)lfyoubill 
clients each month for services rendered, check to see that your 
invoicing will let you tailor a description of services for each 
individual client job. (BACK TO BASICS, p. 99, does this.) It's 
also a good idea to go over your needs with your accountant and 
decide where you stand to gain the most from improved 


Retail software dealers seldom have the staff to provide helpful 
follow-up. Make sure before buying any program that you look it 
over several times, get some references from people who are 
using it, and find out what back-up you can expect from the 
manufacturer. (A direct phone call to the company can tell you a 
lot about what to expect in the way of future support.) Some 
programs, like CHAMPION (p. 102), are sold in a demo version 
that will allow you hands-on testing before you buy the whole 
program. And systems houses (consultants who sell software 
and hardware) can often provide sales contracts that include 
staff training, help when you've got a problem, and equipment 


Safeguards against loss of data are crucial in accounting, 
especially in multi-user situations where a single file must be 
simultaneously shared by two operators. You can run a crude 
safety test by having two people attempt to access the same file 
at once. 

Some safety features can create complications if your 
accounting needs are simple. Programs that follow standard 
accounting practice won't allow you to delete or edit entries. 
Instead, you must enter reversing entries to correct errors (it's 
the standard embezzlement-discourager). This is no problem if 
you are an accountant and can juggle figures in the general 
ledger, but it can be a serious drawback for less agile users. 

Once you've isolated your software candidates, eat, sleep, and 
work with them until you know exactly what they will and won't 
do. The highest cost of automating your accounting system lies 

in the time it takes to set up your reports and chart of accounts 
and enter your data. You don't want to do that work twice. 


A really workable accounting system requires a lot of disk 
space— in most cases, a hard disk (Corvus is one of the better 
ones— Profile for the Apple). Putting your accounts on fifteen or 
sixteen floppies might be an interesting challenge at first, but 
you can be sure it will be a headache later. For relaxed small 
businesses, though, floppies may be entirely practical. 
PEACHTREE BUSINESS ACCOUNTING, p. 101 , for example, is 
designed with this in mind. If you don't yet own a computer 
system, plan on buying one with as much memory as you can 
afford. Don't plan on doing anything but the simplest home 
accounting with less than 128K. Screen resolution and keyboard 
set-up are also important considerations when working with 
figures. And nearly every accounting program requires a 132- 
column printer. Some home finance programs produce 
acceptable reports on an 80-column printer, but only if it has a 
compressed print mode. 

Remember: Once you've isolated your software candidates, eat, 
sleep, and live with them until you know exactly what they will 
and won't do. Focus on areas where you need increased control 
in your business. If you don't already own a personal computer, 
find the right software first. Plot out the time good accounting 
software can actually save you in tracking down figures and 
producing invoices and checks. Then choose the program that 
covers those major needs. Make sure you won't have to make 
radical changes in your accounting system to use it, but be 
ready to bend a little. 

Think about how much you may have to pay your CPA to double 
check your figures. Make sure the audit trails are good enough 
so that you can easily follow each item in its travels from entry to 
postings to reports. It's not a bad idea to keep dual books for the 
first few months— until you know that your program works the 
way you hoped it would. The highest cost of automating your 
accounting system lies in the time it takes to set up your reports, 
your chart of accounts, and to enter your data. You don't want 
to do that work twice. 

Books and magazines 

Books and magazines are still the most useful resources for 
finding what you want in software. 

If you're a beginner, start with The Personal Computer in 
Business Book, by Peter McWilliams (1984; 299 pp.; $9.95; 
Quantum Press, Doubleday&Co., Inc., 501 Franklin Avenue, 
Garden City, NY 11530; 212/953-4490), a good general-purpose 
introduction. A slightly dated but helpful guide is Nicholas and 
Sharon Rosa's Small Computers for the Small Businessman 
(1980; 344 pages; $16.95; dilithium Press, PO. Box 606, 
Beaverton, OR 97005-0606; 800/547-1842). Less entertaining, 
but useful as a detailed how-to manual, is Micro Accounting: 
Setting Up Your Books on the Computer, by Steven E. Yoder 
and Sherry D. Knight (1984; 240 pp.; $15.95; Prentice-Hall, 
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632; 201/592-2640). How to Buy 
Software (p. 6) is the best for mapping the software search 
territory as a whole. Two other useful compendiums are the 
Datapro/McGraw-Hill Guide to Microcomputer Accounting 
Software (1985; 142 pp.; $17.50; McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1221 
Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020; 212/512-2000) 
and Amanda Hixson's A Buyer's Guide to Microcomputer 
Business Software (1984; 292 pp.; $19.95; Addison-Wesley, 


One Jacob Way, Reading, MA 01867; 617/944-3700). And for 
accountants who are ready to plunge into the PC world, three 
good books are available: Microcomputers for Accountants by 
Theodore Needleman (1983; 186 pages; $14.95; Prentice-Hall, 
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632; 201/592-2640), Computers in 
Accountants' Offices by Gordon E. Louvau and Marjorie E. 
Jackson (1983; 132 pages; $25; Van Nostrand Rheinhold, 
Order Processing, 7625 Empire Dr., Florence, KY 41042; 
606/525-6600) and Computer Applications Guide for 
Accountants by Steven S. Weis (1984; 330 pp.; $17.95; Reston 
Publishing, 11480 Sunset Hills Rd.,Reston,VA 22090; 

All of these books are available by mail order from COMPUTER 
LITERACY. For ordering information, see p. 201. 

Among magazines, the Journal of Financial Software and 

Hardware gives a concise easy-to-read look at new financial 
software for the business-minded. Business Computer Systems 
is one of the best sources for articles on real estate software, 
general-ledger software, and tax-preparation programs. 
Computing for Business regularly runs reviews written by a 
CPA. Also, be sure to check local user groups and professional 
organizations for special seminars and demonstrations. 

Business Computer Systems: $40/yr (1 2 issues) or free to 
qualified business people; Cahners Publishing Co., Cahners 
BIdg., 275 Washington St., Newton, MA 02158; 617/964-3030. 
® Computing for Business: $24.95/yr (12 issues); MWJ 
Publishing Group, P.O. Box 1234, Cerritos, CA 90701; 
213/408-0999. •Journal of Financial Software and Hardware: 
$20/yr (6 issues); Microthought Publications, 2811 Wilshire 
Blvd., Suite 640, Santa Monica, CA 90403. 

i/7 ^p.r. 

T iTT^ r-1 /ra / 


Like a monthly financial checkup 

Version 1.5; IBM PC/XT/AT and compatibles; 128K; 
color monitor recommended; IBM PCjr (cartridge, 
128K; disk, 256K); $199.95; copy-protected? YES; 
M.E.C.A., 285 Riverside Ave., Westport, CT 
06880; 203/222-1000. 















Oct Mom Dec Jot Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Ausf Sejp 

most comprehensive and easy-to-use home- 
finance package I've run across. In addition 
to performing conventional checkbook and 
budgeting functions, MANAGING YOUR 
MONEY forecasts cash flow, estimates 
income taxes, tracks net worth, and 
calculates gains and losses on investments. 

But that's not all. MANAGING YOUR MONEY 
evaluates family life insurance needs, 
suggests income tax strategies, prints 
checks, and calculates rates of return on tax 
shelters and rental properties. 

The programs are designed to be learned 
without the user's manual. Although other 
software manufacturers have made this 
claim , MYM is one of the few packages that 
totally succeeds. 

Better yet, MYM programs are completely 
integrated. A check you write to the doctor is 
not only deducted from your checking 
account balance but is also reflected in your 
budget, income tax deductions, and net 

For insurance planning, MYM calculates your 
mortality No armchair advisor, it tells you 
how much insurance to carry and makes 
suggestions about where to purchase it. The 
tax section estimates income taxes at any 
time of the year and allows you to do tax 
planning. The retirement programs factor in 
such variables as taxable savings, pension 
plans, IRA and Keogh portfolios, rates of 
inflation, and your income tax bracket. 
There's an equally good investment program. 

If you, like me, have been thinking, "One of 
these days I'm going to get my finances in 
order," MYM might be the program to finally 
get you going. 

STEWART BRAND: I get asked, "What's your 
favorite program?" Answer: Andrew Tobias's 

MANAGING YOUR MONEY printouts of Stewart 
Brand's bottom line lor 1984— all income versus 
all expenses, with reality (through August) 
compared to budget, Mowed by his predicted 
cash situation for the following months. 

other program is so utterly useful, so well 
designed, so well written (not the code, 
which seems fine, but the words on the 
screen), so humorous, so easy, so exploitive 
of what a computer does best. 

It's a life-brightener, a marriage-saven 
Money, as they say, matters. Most of us can 
keep up with the checkbook, but investments, 
tax stuff, loans, insurance, all seem to inhabit 
worlds of their own, from which come a 
steady supply of bad surprises. This program 
eliminates all that. All of those "chapters" in 
the program, in your life, keep track of each 
other and keep a steady summary of their 
overall effect on your financial health. For the 
first time I not only know what's going on, I 
relish my monthly session with the program, 
when the actuals take on the imagineds (the 
budget), and I come out ahead or behind in 
the computer game of life. 

Ken Uston gives the program a rave review, 
but I don't think it's clear how much better it 
is than DOLLARS & SENSE, or HOME 
ACCOUNTANT or any other program for 
home application. For the monthly user like 
me to the daily stock market adept, 
awesome completeness with ingenious 

YOUR MONEY is still in a category all by 
itself. It's a financial consultant that won't 
leave you with a handful of flaky investments. 
In keeping with Andy Tobias's philosophy of 
giving low-key, long-term advice, MECAnow 
offers four customer update plans that 
include, at the lowest level (free), an 800 
HELP number and three-month guaranteed 
disk replacement, and at the highest ($49), a 
yearly update on software and a user 
newsletter full of Tobias's practical financial 
advice. The thing that impresses me most 
about MYM is that the authors publicly admit 
mistakes when they make them and actually 
use the program to find out what needs 

The pity is, MANAGING YOUR MONEY is still 
only available for IBM, but Apple and 
Macintosh versions are on the horizon. 

Speed, flexibility, and a great capacity . 

Apple II, lie ; 48K; $100 ® Apple lie; 128K; 
$120 « Macintosh; $150 ® IBM PC compatibles; 
128K; 2 disk drives; $180; copy-protected? YES; 
Monogram, 8295 S. La Cienega Blvd., Inglewood, 
CA 90301; 213/215-0355. 

FRED SALAND (Shoreline Software, San 
Rafael, CA): After a long and frustrating 
search for a good home-money manager, I 
finally found DOLLARS AND SENSE. It isn't 
good . . . it's great. 

This program lets you categorize transactions 
into 120 different accounts and enter monthly 
budgets for each one. You can add and 
rename accounts or delete unused accounts 
at any time. Transactions can be flagged for 
tax returns, and a new forecasting module 
(available as a standalone for the Macintosh 
and Apple II, but included in the IBM 
versions) allows for four-year projections 
useful in tax planning. Even after five months, 
I had used only 92 accounts, and I'm 
compulsive about detailing my financial 

Speed and capacity are the greatest selling 
points. DOLLARS AND SENSE is written in 
Pascal and operates at lightning speed 
compared with the competition. Moving from 
menu to menu is fast. Data entry is done by 
the screenful instead of line by line. Up to 
2000 entries per disk can be stored on an 
Apple. You can also correct or add 

transactions from previous months at any 
time. (THE HOME ACCOUNTANT won't let you 
add transactions after you've closed out a 
month.) D&S's editing function, which works 
like that of a word processor, is the best I've 

The program was designed to be easy to use, 
and it's a success. It always displays your 
options so you can back out of any process 

A few shortcomings: In printing checks, the 
payee isn't saved, and repeat payments have 
to be re-entered. Some users have mentioned 
that disk drives must be perfectly adjusted in 
order for transactions to be saved. This might 
be a result of the operating system or of 
Monogram's copy-protection scheme. 

For personal finances, though, the package is 
nearly ideal. I haven't said DOLLARS AND 
SENSE is the simplest program to use, but 
it's worth the extra effort. For the investment, 
you get speed, flexibility, and results. 

MARSHA MATHER-THRIF: In the personal 
finance world, DOLLARS AND SENSE is a 
star. I don't like doing my books or my taxes, 
but D&S and the Macintosh made me fall in 
love with my finances. D&S takes care of 
averaging my fluctuating writer's income so I 
can actually make use of a budget, and 
funnels all the information I choose into one 
of the best tax planners I've seen. Thanks to 
the Mac's windows, the screens are super 
and learning the program is sheer pleasure. 

D&S isn't as complete as MANAGING YOUR 
MONEY but it's better designed than HOME 
ACCOUNTANT faster, and the documentation 
looks like a million bucks. 






Liglitning fast and tliorouglily useful, DOLLARS 
everytliing but forecasting and range ofwacliines 
on wliicli it runs. For tiome budgeting, ciioose 
exotic colors for bar graphs that sliow at a glance 
what you spend on household items or your 
automobile. You may discover, as I did, that those 
harmless little trips to used-hook stores add up 

Versatile, easy to use, and expandable . . . 

Version 2.10; DEC Rainbow ® IBM PC/XT 
compatibles ® Tl Professional ® MS-DOS 2.0; 192K 
RAM ® Wang; 256K; 2 disk drives or hard disk; 
copy-protected? NO; $195; Financial Software, 
Inc., 3 Kane Industrial Dr., Hudson, MA 01749; 

FRED SALAND (Shoreline Software, San 
Rafael, CA): FINANCIER II is a personal and 
small-business software system for accrual 
or cash-based double-entry accounting. That 
means it will work for both lazy and ambitious 
users who want sophisticated fiscal 
management. So far, this sounds pretty much 
SENSE. But the folks at Financier, Inc., have 
spent a lot of time designing a program that is 
versatile, relatively easy to use, and 
expandable. While HOME ACCOUNTANT 
limits you to 100 categories and D&S to 120, 
this program can support any number of 
categories. It goes one step further and 
permits you to classify each category into 
current and fixed assets, long- and short- 
term liabilities, and so on. That's a definite 
plus in a business setting. 

Where does this very sophisticated package 
fit in? It's more complete than HOME 
ACCOUNTANT It's slower than DOLLARS 
AND SENSE, but does have enhanced tax 
coding, memo fields, and easy payables and 
check writing. FINANCIER II probably falls 
slightly above D&S for usefulness and a few 
steps below a general-accounting package 
they can be upgraded to full accounting 
systems as your business grows. 

less flash, but a few more refinements than 
programs like HOME ACCOUNTANT and 
DOLLARS AND SENSE, including the ability 
to produce true business-quality reports. It's 
more expensive than D&S and HA, definitely 
not easy to use (but there will soon be an 800 
number for help), and not terribly fast. Still, 
it's a good buy if, like doctor and software 
consultant Fred Saland, you have terrifically 
complicated personal business. Also of value: 
it runs on the Wang PC, which has too few 
good programs designed for it. 

difficult for non-accountants. I found the 
manual ridiculously confusing to use. I didn't 
like the data-entry format (there is no 
verification of data before it is written to file). 
Although there is flexibility if you can 

overcome the manual and entry format, and 
you can format the printing to your own 
checks, it is too complex, I feel, for personal 

Currenl Asjcts 


BANK Of bostSn-checi; 


ToUl Current Asset 

fixed Assets 

Other Assets 



r Beqin P 

































: .. 







A double-entry booklceeping system is a must for 
producing business balance sheets your bank will 
accept FINANCIER II is the one personal finance 
program that offers low price, a complete 
accounting package, and business quality reports. 


A home-finance manager 

with reports for every occasion 

Apple II family; 48K (Expanded version for lie & 
lie; ProDOS; 128K) ® Macintosh ® Atari 800/XL; 
48K ® Commodore 64 ® IBM PC/XT/AT 
compatibles; 128K; IBM PCjr; copy-protected? 
Varies with computer; $75-$100; Arrays, Inc./ 
Continental Software, 11223 S. Hindry Ave., Los 
Angeles, CA 90045; 213/410- 3977. 


V. X.XX 










9. EXIT 


HOME ACCOUNTANT Is a iiousehold word— at 
least in tite electronic cottage. It runs on more 
machines than any finance program in its price 
range and offers a no- frills set Digraphs and 
version, has a forecast module that teaches the 
tricky art of future budget planning. If you do 
nothing more than predict returns on a savings 
account, you'll still find HOME ACCOUNTANT'S 
orderly thinking a godsend. 

ROBERT D. KOLB (Micro Support, Sausalito, 
CA): My accounting needs are rather simple, 
because I have only one checking and one 
savings account. But having spent hours 
sorting through boxes of receipts and past 
banl< statements, I was delighted to find a 
software product to help organize my 
financial mess. Oh sure, I always know my 
current balance or whether I've paid my 
electric bill, but whenever I have to review 
past payments, I have to do a couple of hours 
of tedious work. 

It took me about 60 minutes to set up HOME 
ACCOUNTANT, from formatting disks to 
entering checkbook records. This included 
reading through the documentation, which is 
not quite as easy as it should be for novices. 

Since I had never really taken the time to set 
up a budget, I decided to try it. Then I got so 
ambitious that I created two credit card 
accounts and an expense account. 

HA can handle up to five accounts with a 
maximum of 100 categories each. Searching 
for transactions is simple and painless. You 
can search by date, check number, payee, 
amount, budget category, memo, or any 
combination for any period. 

There are plenty of reports, including budget 
and net worth. Also, you can print 
comparative income and balance sheets and 
choose specific areas for reporting (ie. all 
checks to the landlord). Graphs allow limited 
forecasting— for example, the future value of 
an investment after assumed rates of return 
and inflation have been calculated. 

If I keep using HOME ACCOUNTANT who 
knows? Those valuable investments might 
even be mine. 

ACCOUNTANT has finally entered the jet age 
with new versions written in (faster) compiled 
BASIC (in ProDOS for Apple). HA isn't as 
comprehensive as MANAGING YOUR MONEY 
but it's a lot less exclusive, since it runs on 
nearly every computer ever made. New Apple 
lie and lie versions are out plus a Macintosh 
version complete with financial planner and 
double the mailing-list storage capacity of the 
standard HA (100 names and addresses 
instead of the old 50). The IBM version has a 
reasonably complete forecasting module, and 
all versions have the invaluable ability to 
funnel information to Continental's low-priced 
TAX ADVANTAGE. That gives you an onscreen 
version of a completed tax form you can then 
transfer to the official IRS papers, and saves 
you a heck of a lot of calculating in the 

GEORGE BEEKMAN: I struggled with 
DOLLARS AND SENSE on the Mac for three 
months and I never felt very comfortable with 
it. It took an hour with the HOME 
ACCOUNTANT to convince me to retype all my 
old D&S data into this new program. HA may 
have problems on other systems, but the Mac 
version is a joy to use. It's so intuitive and 
Maclike that my wife (who's always hated the 
idea of computerizing our finances) is 
hooked. It's not perfect— it could stand to be 
more flexible and it would be nice if you could 
move data to and from other applications— 
but it's miles ahead of the competition. 

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aiid/br-stpo iiariy deposits iarki!* as cleared 
and/orS-^incprrect dollar, aaounts on me iteis 

to helffindjstiie difference coipare the bank s^^ 
the siMiary-bf your register shown heliw;:V: 

; ; : : JHfll' YOU' UE (IflBKED IN YOUR llEGISTW: v 

;i ^\Hu«her V; rJoiUrrTotal 

.■:Pay«BntShMrkBd^,cleared ^ ^ u^^^^' 7 ;;--■""':;$ j:;,5838, 18 
'DepbS'jis'^Mrked'clearedy",,:-'/- 'i ;■ " ■:-,^'l:yK-:%.W- 

PwBss F9 to exaiine ftjie ' Check Segister.- 

jPressjIlB ^to ;;isni))pestheid if f ereKe^;«Bdf^a:ccept;; 

iSftt$hr=stateBeiit^i,^btal: wicbrrect.'iS':;.;:^;: 

QUICKEN makes banking at home a reality. An 
ingenious help screen that you call up when your 
statement fails to balance can prevent one more 
tedious trip to the bank. Since you already have 
the inlormation you need in hand, the problem is 
doing the necessary sleuthwork without having to 
recheck all your entries. QUICKEN helps you track 
the differences at home in a last and efficient 

Check-writing and tracking . . . 

QyiCKEi O 

Thomas Proulx, David Drews and Anthony Tyson. 
Copy-protected. $79 - $99 (street $50 - $70). IBM 
PC family and compatibles (192K); Apple He 
(extended 80 column card required)/llc. Intuit, 
540 University Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301; 

ANDREA SHARP: Ten minutes with QUICKEN 
and I changed my mind about using 
computers to manage a personal checkbook. 
I had thought it wouldn't be worth the effort, 
but this program makes the process fun and 
is extremely easy to use. You can sit down 
and run it in just a few minutes. 

The program will memorize repeat payees' 
names and addresses (as well as memos for 
tax categories and amounts if you want) and 
print out computer-style checks. As you 
"write" your checks, the program makes a 
check register for you and keeps your 
transactions in date order. (Note: the checks 
cost 830.95 for 500 and take two to three 
weeks to arrive.) 

RUSEL DE MARIA: QUICKEN is simplicity 
itself. You write the checks on a screen that 
looks just like a paper check and you work in 
a check register that looks just like a paper 
register. If you use the memo space for 
budget categories, you can print a report 
that lists each transaction according to date 
and totals all the transactions at the bottom. 
If you need to list your medical costs in a 
hurry, this is an easy way to do it. 

designed to be foolproof for people with 
phobias about computers, and it is. A former 
writer for the well-known Sunset "how-to" 
books designed the manual and the program 
shares the same commonsense approach. 
With it you can set up your checkbook to 
yield year-end tax information or an 
accounting for the costs of any particular 
job. And when you balance your bank 
statement and see a heart-stopping deficit in 
the little box at the bottom, QUICKEN offers 
the kind of help you need in finding the 
gremlins that have mucked up your 






Tightly controlled . 

Sentient Software. Version 1.01. Copy-protected. 
$180 - $575 (depending on machine); street price 
$125 - $300; individual modules (GENERAL 
PAYABLE) $60 - $175 each; street prices $40 - 
$120 each. Atari 800; Commodore 64; Apple II 
family; Macintosh (512K); IBM PC/XT/AT and 
compatibles (available only as three pack); IBM 
PCjr. Requires 80-column printer. Peachtree 
Software, 3445 Peachtree Rd. NE, 8th Floor, 
Atlanta, GA 30326; 800/554-8900 or, in GA, 

JAN PEHRSON: For years, Peachtree 
accounting packages have set a de facto 
standard, but those early programs had a lot 
of problems associated with their use, partly 
because they offered a lot of flexibility. There 
were many options, but they weren't always 
clearly documented. 

BACK TO BASICS is a clearer, cleaner 
version of Peachtree's early programs with 
many of the hidden options now appearing 
as menu selections. There's a little loss of 
flexibility, but the gain in clarity is worth it. 

In operation, this is a much safer program 
than Peachtree's earlier accounting 
packages. BACK TO BASICS tests data 
entered and account number validity (against 
the account numbers set up in the general 
ledger). You can add expense accounts to 
the payable module, for example, but only if 
they have been previously set up. The 
program flow is so tightly controlled, there 
is little chance of making a fatal error. 

30 standard reports to choose from and 
deals with accounting reports in an efficient, 
simplified way. The rat race of having to 
customize report forms every time your 
business shifts direction is gone. (()ther 
programs, such as the EASYBUSINESS 
series, make you learn a minor 
programming language to create custom 
reports.) In addition, BACK TO BASICS 
allows variable terms for billing customers, 
variable discounts, and the ability to pre- 
define a palette of vendor terms. 

The bad news: This is a floppy disk only 
system; there is no online help although 
screen prompts are exceptionally clear; and 
the manual wasn't as much help as we 
wished. Also, there's no payroll or inventory 
module, as yet. 

yourselfers stepping onto the shaky 
tightrope of a small business start-up, this 
program is definitely a safety net. It's 
designed for the absolute novice and the 
safeguards are excellent. The manual 
includes a short course in basic accounting. 
There are also helpful sketches of sample 
business situations to give you some tips on 
setting up your books. Some cautions: the 
program prints statements, but not invoices, 
so it's not much good to anyone interested 
in manufacturing or high-inventory sales. 
And unlike the old PEACHPAK 4, you can't 
use it with the PEACHTEXT word-processing 
program. But for anyone doing the kind of 
small-scale labor-intensive business we do 
around our house — writing and 
cabinetmaking— BACK TO BASICS would be 
my first choice. 

A sensible double-entry 
small-business system . . . 

Version 1 .22; IBM PC/XT compatibles; 128K RAM ® 
CP/M-80 and CP/M-86 machines; 64K RAM; 2 disk 
drives or hard disk,132 column printing capability; 
copy-protected? NO; $395; Star Software Systems, 
367 Van Ness Way, Torrance, CA 90501; 
213/533-1190; modules available: G/L, A/R, A/P, 
Payroll, Inventory. 

JAN PEHRSON, M.B.A., C.D.R (Datalink, 
Novato, CA): Most small-business 
bookkeeping systems are a combination of 
spit and baling wire. A lot of businesses don't 
even produce quarterly statements. In fact, 
plenty of owners run "successful" 
companies by frequently asking, "Just how 
much do we have in the bank, anyway?" 
Then the accountant (if there's a good one) 
picks up the pieces at the end of the year. 

sensible accounting systems that can change 
all that. It's a double-entry system complete 
enough for businesses that don't require 
elaborate inventory control. For retailers, 
there are plenty of options for vendor 
payment and purchasing— enough, at least, 
to give you an extra inflation hedge through 
discount buying. THE ACCOUNTING 
PARTNER also includes accounts receivable 
and an invoicing module. And you can do a 
sales analysis on products by item file, 
invoicing your items at five different prices. 

There are also some features you can't get 
elsewhere. First, it interfaces with the STAR 
makes it a good candidate for attorneys and 
journals are divided into three simple 
categories: cash disbursements, cash 
receipts, and a general journal. And one of its 
most far-sighted features is a function that 
permits small companies to print checks 
straight from the general ledger check- 
disbursements journal. 

Still, victorv doesn't go uncontested to the 
balance-forward accounting, so you can't 
check detail on invoices for previous months. 
This might be fine for a five-and-dime, but not 
for most inventory-maintaining businesses. 
And despite Star's good documentation and 
freely offered 800 number, there is no index 
to help you through the rough spots. Worse 
yet, it costs $50 per quarter for the benefit of 
the company's direct advice. From Star's 
point of view, this is probably a good way to 
get rid of malingerers, but it's not terribly 
practical for customers. 

You don't have to be an accountant to use this 
program, but you'll have to act like one if you 
want to make any corrections. Reverse 
entries are your only way out of errors. Also, 
interactive, so you'll have to post transactions 
in a separate maneuver, but at least you can 
rely on the accuracy of your figures this way. 

Still, despite all this, THE ACCOUNTING 
PARTNER is a cinch to give you a better idea 

of how your books are being kept. And you 
won't be likely to discover, as someone who 
recently hired us did, that you've been 
invisibly losing money for the last six months. 

MARSHA MATHER-THRIFT: If you've got a 
growing small business and limited cash 
offer low price now and an easy move up to 
more sophisticated accounting software from 
the same manufacturer later. 





The Accounting Partner 
c) 1983 by Star Software Sys 
ter/Sort/Post Transactions S 

















al Journal Transaction Entry 




Disbursements Journal Trans 

action Er 





Receipts Journal Transaction 





Journal Transaction Sort & 




Sorted Journal Transactions 










e Number of Choice (or to 



ACCOUNTING PARTNER has three simple entry 
screens (cash receipts, cash disbursements and 
general journal}. These help to separate financial 
transactions and cut down chances for error 
ACCOUNTING PARTNER is a good buy if you have a 
small business and limited cash flow. A better buy 
may be Star's new ACCOUNTING PARTNER 2 (a 
four-module program for $995) if you need a 
completely interactive updating of reports and the 
option of either balance forward or open item 


Systama Plus, Inc. 


ou«om..Ni.|yo^TOn«oj.<.« ^^^ ^^ ^^^^ 

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Nrrf ChriiUu nf * rreifirmi Rn Ttir 




.V ■^».J?i^S^^i^/^Sa^g5ft a^caj^.-i5¥T 

BOOKS! is a novice businessperson's dream. A 
bool(l(eeping tutorial and ten simple charts ol 
accounts streamline initial setup. A report (such 
as the one above) provides a tidy summary ol 
outstanding debts with balances aged at lour 
different rates. Overdue bills can quickly sink busy 
or inexperienced entrepreneurs, but with BOOKS! 
you can instantly monitor cash and receivables. 



JUNE 3i2i, 1985 




1£8. 99 





£55. 67 


£5£. £9 



065. 33 


56. 3£ 







674. 1 1 




. 00 




£74. £6 



179. S6 









1 1 

585. 40 






061. £5- 



59£. 80- 




£69. 87- 




101. 1£- 


£3. 34- 




£37. 3£- 




500. 00- 



07 1 . ££- 


4011 SALES 

. 00 

The workhorse of small business accounting, BPI 
requires month-end closings and audit reports. 
Trial balance (above) gives you a quick summary 
of all your general ledger accounts— a handy tool 
for quickly assessing cash and excessive 

For the old-fashioned bookkeeper . . . 


Version 1.2; IBM PC/XT compatibles; 128K RAM; 
2 disk drives or hard disk ® most CP/M-80 & -86 
machines; 64K minimum RAM; copy-protected? 
NO; $745 for complete package or $395 for basic 
module plus $75-$150 for additional modules; 
Systems Plus, Inc., 1120 San Antonio Rd., Palo 
Alto, CA 94303; 415/969-7047. 

DENNIS JOW: BOOKS! is a program with a 
revolutionary approach. The screen is a 
graphic simulation of the familiar journal 
worksheet (with columns for debits and 
credits) designed to make the changeover 
from paper to machine an easy task. 

BOOKS! is closer to textbook accounting 
than any other system on the market. The 
reference manual has a section explaining 
the theory of double-entry accrual 
accounting and there is a tutorial. There are 
G/L, A/P, and A/R functions in the main 
package and options (at separate cost) for 
invoicing, check writing, recurring entries, 
and budgeting (including job cost). The 
accounts receivable part of the program 
includes selections for open-item aging 
reports and detailed aged or balance-forward 
customer statements. It will also handle any 
number of customers you wish. 

One of the nicest features is the chart of 
accounts. There are predesigned charts for 

A workhorse for small businesses, 
flexible and expandable . . . 

Version 1.8; Apple II family; Lisa « IBM PC/XT 
compatibles; PC DOS • most MS-DOS machines 
® most CP/M machines; copy-protected? NO 
(except Apple II); $595-$795; BPI Systems, 3001 
Bee Cave Road, Austin, TX 78746; 512/328-5400; 
modules available: A/R, A/P, Payroll, Inventory 
Control, Job Costs, Time Accounting. Call BPI for 
specific machine compatibility and requirements. 

PAUL WALHUS, business systems 
consultant: BPI was started by the owner of a 
chain of grocery stores in Austin, Texas, who 
needed accounting systems to run his stores. 
He teamed up with a programmer and created 
a product that Apple, Commodore, and IBM 
fell in love with. The product caught on and 
sold more than 100,000 copies in two years. 

It doesn't take knowledge or expertise in 
computers to use BPI. This is truly a program 
for the small business. Besides a general 
ledger module, BPI offers accounts receivable 
and payable, inventory control, payroll, job 
cost, church management, association 
management, and time accounting for 

The programs are easy to use, well- 
supported, well-documented, relatively bug- 

ten different types of businesses- 
wholesale, manufacturing, construction and 
others. You can modify any of these to your 
own specifications. 

HOWARD DYER: In an effort to be flexible 
and innovative, the BOOKS! designers 
loosened standard accounting controls. For 
example, the program doesn't close out the 
month, which makes later revisions easy but 
displaces the customary audit trail. Also, 
account descriptions are used instead of 
accounting numbers, and since there are no 
predefined account ranges, finding errors 
later could be a bit tricky. 

drawback of BOOKS! is a freewheeling 
approach to entry that increases ease of use 
but sacrifices safeguards. ONE-WRITE 
PLUS, a new program by Evergreen 
Software, which includes check writing and 
sells for $295, offers the same journal 
worksheet approach as BOOKS! and more 
controls. Unfortunately, there is only one G/ 
L module available thus far and no invoicing, 
so it's only worth considering for the 
smallest of businesses until the next 
modules hit the shelves in the stores. (ONE- 
WRITE PLUS. Melanson and Johnson. Copy- 
protected. $295; street $190. IBM PC/XT/AT/ 
compatibles; 128K. 2 disk drives required. 
Evergreen Software, Inc., The Meeting 
Place, Amherst, NH 03031; 800/528- 5015 
or, in NH, 603/673-0830). 

free, and the menus are always consistent. 
You can stack up commands in the BPI 
"queue" menu and enter data in several 
journals without going back to the main 
menu. And you can do the same with the 
reports. This shorthand data entry saves a 
lot of keystrokes. 

The program will let you keep a whole year's 
transactions on a hard disk. But there is one 
drawback: BPI is a month-to-month 
accounting system, which means your access 
to data for use in spreadsheet projections and 
similar analyses is nil, unless you buy a file- 
transfer program. But more important: BPI is 
an expandable system. The general ledger 
can provide the heart of a small business 
financial system and then hook up with more 
powerful receivable and payable modules 
later. The newest version (C13) for the IBM 
also links to a universe of BPI products 
(the Aura line), including information 
managers and word processors. 

other accounting programs in this price 
range. It's dependable and offers a lot of 
options (such as legal time and billing and job 
cost) that you won't find in similarly priced 
programs. And the best news is that the IBM 
version is now written in compiled BASIC and 
finally fast enough to satisfy even the most 
hardened computer program reviewer. 


Full-featured and carefully designed . 


John Burns and Sally Craig; Version1.31; IBM PC 
compatibles and other MS-OOS machines; 128K* 
most CP/M and MP/M machines; 64K; 2 disk drives 
or hard disk; copy protected? NO; $1595; Balcones 
Computer Corporation, 3435 Greystone, Suite 106, 
Austin, n 78731; 800/531-5483 or, in TX, 
800/252-8184; system includes G/L, A/R, A/P 
($579 each purchased separately); also available: 
Inventory Accounting ($1095), Payroll ($795), 
Time Billing ($795), Invoicer ($295), Multiple 
Terminal Entry ($295), Spreadsheet Interface for 
1-2-3 and MULTIPLAN ($195 each). 

JOHN R. SOWDEN, JR.: Unlike most 
software packages, THE BOSS'S manual lists 
its program writers right up front. So it was 
my first impression that if somebody was 
taking responsibility for it, the whole program 
must be well put together. I wasn't wrong. 
When I called Balcones (via an 800 number), 
the first person I talked to fully understood 
the program— and also had a strong 
knowledge of accounting. 

The manual is well-written and the system 
offers a number of features for easy use. You 
can create your own function keys, for 
example, so if you want you can easily design 
your command keys to resemble those of 
MicroPro's WORDSTAR, which is helpful if 
your staff is already familiar with WORDSTAR 

Another help is the preset chart of accounts. 
You can delete the accounts that don't match 
your operations and add ones that do. 
Ordinarily, setting up a chart of accounts is 
one of the most time-consuming and 
complicated tasks in computer accounting. 

There are lots of flexible features, too. THE 
BOSS allows you up to ten transaction 
categories per entry. If ten isn't enough, 
Balcones performs an accounting sleight-of- 
hand by allowing one of these entries to refer 
to a temporary account that makes another 
ten entries available. 

The system has three levels of password 
security, and there are excellent error- 
detection features to warn you if your disk is 
bad or your hardware malfunctioning. 

Balcones also gives you a chance to test what 
they're selling. You purchase the demo disks 
and manual. If you buy the package within 30 
days, the demo charge is credited and the 
company sends you unrestricted disks along 
with a new reference manual that covers the 
program in even greater detail. 

leader in outstanding system safeguards. It's 
a good multi-user program, and it's the only 
one recommended in this price range that 
offers a general time-and-billing package as 
well as an interface with 1-2-3 (p. 68). 

A fine, market-tested integrated system , 

Version 2.3; Apple III with Profile hard disk ® DEC 
Rainbow 100 • IBM PC/XT compatibles ® Tl 
Professional; 128K ® Standard 8" CP/M machines; 
all require 2 disk drives or hard disk; copy 
protected? NO; $595 per module; Peachtree 
Software, 3445 Peachtree Road NE, 8th Floor, 
Atlanta, GA 30326; 800/554-8900; modules 
available: G/L, A/R, A/P, Sales Invoicing, Inventory 
Control, Payroll, Job Cost, Fixed Assets. 

JAN PEHRSON, M.B.A., CD. P. (Datalink, 
Novato, CA): If you don't care much for frills 
and want a good easy-to-use accounting 
ACCOUNTING SYSTEM is one of the best 
buys on the market. My firm installs business 
software and trains people to use it, so we've 
spent lots of time looking for programs that 
give small businesses the power and 
flexibility they need. We found PEACHTREE 
several years ago and still think it's dynamite. 
Recently, we converted a small pest-control 
business from its old manual system and 
found that set-up and training on PEACHTREE 
took only four and a half hours of our time. 
That's the kind of miracle small, understaffed 
companies are looking for. 

(p. 99) but a lot more powerful. Available 
components include job cost, payroll, order 
entry, and a general ledger for Cf'As. The 
system is truly modular and written in 
compiled BASIC, which means it's fast, and 
you can be sure it's well-tested. Peachtree is 
the third largest software manufacturer in the 
country, and the company has a solid 
reputation for both user and dealer support. 

PEACHTREE is a less complicated accounting 
system than REALWORLD (p. 103) and more 
flexible than EASYBUSINESS (p. 102). A 
systems file lets you choose the way you want 
to handle editing and control reports. If 
you're very security conscious, this may not 
be the system you want, but in most 
businesses with 20 or fewer employees, 
people know each other well enough to make 
a locked-up program unnecessary. The series 
has two levels of password security, and I 
really think that's sufficient. 

PEACHTREE offers all the standard 
accounting features, such as balance sheets 
and income statements. You can do custom 
invoicing by using PEACHTEXT 5000. All 
modules feed directly to the general ledger, 
and trial balances can be run. Accounts 
payable allows open invoices and aging on 
balances due (with a 30/60/90-day format); it 
also provides an unusual and extremely 
useful cash-requirements forecast. Payroll 
includes a subscription service for updated 
tax tables, so you never have to key in new 
information as the laws change. 

about Peachtree is the company's interest in 
constantly improving the basic program. The 
newest version has greatly eased initial set-up 
through clear-cut menu options and includes 
dozens of craftsmanlike touches that make 
the programs easier than ever to use. 

stuck witli expanding business and a floppy disk 
computer system you can't afford to trade? 
designed to ease your dilemma. Although any 
accounting system performs best with a hard disk, 
PEACHTREE keeps disk-swapping to a minimum. 
You get plenty of standard business reports, 
nonetheless, including a departmental income 
statement (above). A vital aid in comparing 
departmental prolit margins for combined sales 
and service operations. 




Printing Date:05-02-8I 


LT Note Payable-Leander 

811 Legal S Professional Fees 



Secured L.T. Note Pay 

812 Bad Debt Expense 

100 Checking Account 

103 Savings Acct-Hound Roci( 

813 Franchise Tax Expense 

150 Cash on Hand 


Owner 1 - Net Worth 

151 Petty Cash Funds 


Owner 1 - Contribute 

••••••• MON-OPERATING ••••••• 

153 Certificate of Deposit 

520 Owner 1 - Ulthdraaal 

900 Non-Operating Income 

156 Stocli 


Owner I - Other 

925 Non-Operating Expense 

159 Bond 


Owner 1 - Special 

950 Federal Income Taxes 

200 Accounts Receivable-Sales 


CoiTTOon Stock - Par 

955 State Income Taxes 

201 Accounts Beceivable-Emply 


Common Stock - Surplus 

956 Other Income Taxes 

202 Accounts Receivable-Other 


Retained Earnings 

960 County Income Taxes 

210 Note Receivable 


Dividends Paid 

965 City Income Taxes 

250 Inventory 


Fiscal Year Earnings 

970 Foreign Income Taxes 

290 Prepaid Expenses 

291 Accrued Revenue 

292 Security Deposits 

600 Cash Sales-Hardware 

300 Furniture i Fixtures 


Cash Sales -Paint 

301 Machinery S Equipment 


Credit Sales-Hardware 

302 Cars S Trucks 


Credit Sales-Paint 

303 Leasehold Improvements 


Interest Income 

304 Organliational Expenses 


Cash Return I Allow-Hardw 

305 Patents 


Cash Return S AUow-Palnt 

306 Copyrights 


Credit Rets S Allow-Hardw 

310 Building 


Credit Rets S Al low-Paint 

330 Storage land 


Earned Discounts 

350 Depreciation-furn i FIxtu 

351 Depreciation-Hach s Equip 

352 Depreciation-Cars S Truck 


Cost of (kjods-Hardware 

353 Depreciation-Leasehold Im 


Cost of Goods-Paint 

354 Depreciation-Organliatlon 


Advertising Expense 

355 Depreciation-Patents 


Vehicle Repairs Expense 

356 Depreciation-Copyrights 


Vehicle Fuel Expense 

360 Depreciation-Building 


Salesmen Expense 

380 Goodalll 


Salesmen Salary Expense 

381 Trademarks 


Store Salary Expense 

399 Inter-Account Transfers 


Store Payroll Tax Expense 


Store Insurance Expense 



Store Rent/Lease Expense 

400 Accounts Payable 


Store Utilities Expense 

405 ST Note Payabte-Leander 


Store Telephone Expense 

425 Fed Withholding Payable 


Store Supplies Expense 

THE BOSS accounting system is well-designed lor 
safety and ease of use. Error messages warn it 
disks or programs tunction improperly A short 
form chart of accounts report helps in coding 
items to the proper account belore entry. Balcones 
clearly dreams up its programs with ordinary 
users in mind. 

fm^mi»m^^^,i^m^^^>^ a^ ^^^^^^^m^^^^^^^^ mm^^^i^i mmM&^^^^^^ ^m^^^^^^^m^^^^ 

Extreme ease of use . . . 

Version 4.01; PC DOS, MS-DOS, CP/IW-86, most 
IBM compatibles; 128K; $595 per module ® CP/M 
80 machines; 64K; $495 per module; copy- 
protected? NO; Champion Software Corporation, 
17301 West Colfax Ave., #250, Golden, CO 80401; 
800/243-2626 or, in CO, 303/278-8666; call 
Champion for specific machine specifications and 
compatibility; over 75 configurations; modules 
available: GL, A/R with order entry & point of sale, 
A/P with purchase order. Inventory, Payroll. 

ilftlLMtNI or riNANClAl- UjNUl l 
-JUNE 30. 1982 





FIXED assets: 



ISO. 0(1 
332,444. 1'j 




CURRENT liabilities: 




















COO" s ass r ssK' ■ ssss ' 'sss 

TOTAL 1 [ ; ) . 6 i 




„. 1 ,.» 


Invoices in many programs require you to use 
quantity and unit cost categories witetlieryou 
manufacture, sell retail goods, or service clients. 
This can make an excellent accounting system 
useless if your business requires a more flexible 
invoicing format. EASYBUSINESS invoicing is 
more flexibly designed than most, and slated for 
further improvements. 


ANDREA SHARP (Whole Earth bookkeeper): 
Bookkeeping must have been one of the tasks 
for which computers were conceived. And 
Champion has put together a five-module 
accounting package that makes bookkeeping 
a bearable activity. You can use the modules 
—general ledger, payroll, accounts payable, 
accounts receivable, and inventory-together 
or as stand-alone functions. The amount of 
disk storage you have will determine what you 
can run together and how many months you 
can run concurrently. These programs are not 
suitable for small computers. On a Kaypro 2 
(190K disk drives) I could only run the general 
ledger module for one month at a time. 

The program will automatically produce 
financial reports-just like the ones your 
accountant gives you (although you cannot 
create a customized hutigeX or financial report 
directly). But herein lies the one complication 
of using such software. You need to think like 
an accountant to set up your chart of 
accounts and general ledger unless you want 
to use the standard one CHAMPION provides. 

I sure got an instant education going through 
the set-up procedure on my own. Once that 

// you rely on your accountant, you normally wait 
until year's end for a statement of financial 
condition. With CHAMPION, you can produce on- 
the-spot reports any time during the year Not only 
that, but because it's written in DBASE II (p. 85), 
CHAMPION is the fastest and most expandable 
system in the upper price range (that is, if you're a 
programmer or a wizard with DBASE conversions}. 

Security conscious accounting with 
excellent support . . . 

Version 4.0; IBM PC/XT/AT/3270 compatibles ® Tl 
Professional; 64K; 2 disk drives; $595 per module 
except Payroll ($795); copy protected? NO; 
SORCIM/IUS Micro Software, 2195 Fortune Dr., 
San Jose, CA 95131; 408/942-1727; modules 
available: G/L, A/R, A/P, Inventory Control and 
Analysis, Order Entry, Payroll, Time Billing & 
Client Receivables. 

JAN PEHRSON, M.B.A., C.D.R (Datalink, 
Novato, CA): SORCIM/IUS puts out one of the 
most useable small-business accounting 
programs in the currently available herd. It's 
a kind of maiden aunt among accounting 
software, decidedly trustworthy and 
predictable even though its design is a little 
behind the times. Modeled on the old 
minibatch design, it is extremely safe, but 
for my tastes a little cumbersome to use. 
Still, all this caution does have its benefits. 
error-detection capabilities, enhanced by 
easily understood messages and a 
"catastrophic error" warning to stop you 
dead in your tracks when hardware or 
software malfunctions occur. 

Set-up goes quickly, despite the fact that this 
is a complicated accounting system. There 
are good instructions for allocating file space 

was done it was easy street. A program like 
this does such niceties as post all your payroll 
deductions to the proper accounts in your 
general ledger while you are printing out your 
payroll checks. When all modules are used, 
this is a true order-entry system that updates 

CHAMPION is designed to be extremely easy 
to use, with a compact manual that's 
coordinated with the menu-driven program. 
Both the nianual and the help screens for the 
4.0 version have been completely rewritten, 
so there are onscreen help functions available 
at all times, as well as a recovery procedure 
should the program unexpectedly crash. 

Once your system is set up, even a temporary 
employee could come in and do your 
bookkeeping for you. This is one of 
CHAMPION'S major advantages. There are 
audit trails for all activities, and any 
accountant could make sense of the system— 
which rescues you from the potential tyranny 
of an idiosyncratic bookkeeper. 

biggest limitation has been its report- 
producing flexibility. A new spreadsheet 
interface and report generator called 
FREEWAY is in the works, which would solve 
this problem. But if your business needs are 
fairly standard, CHAMPION can supply all the 
reports and features you need. If you want a 
purchase-order module, for example, 
CHAMPION is the program that has it. 

on disks and setting up your chart of 
accounts. The manuals are small enough to 
fit on a desktop or shelf (a plus if you've ever 
tried to wrestle one of the damned things put 
out by most software companies), and 

Despite its accessibility, EASYBUSINESS 
offers plenty of flexibility and power. It can 
handle multiple departments and divisions 
using a twelve-digit account number (but 
can't consolidate multiple companies). 
Available reports are strongly management- 
oriented, offering such niceties as cash-flow 
monitoring and reports from the Inventory 
module that track order progress. The 
financial reporter, included in the general 
ledger module, makes report generation 
an art. 

The EASYPLUS windowing system ($149; 
hard disk required) also adds a touch of new 
vigor by allowing EASYBUSINESS to interface 
quite easily with 1-2-3 (p. 68), DBASE 
(p. 85), SUPERPROJECT (p. 117), and 
others. It's a little like putting a miniskirt on 
the maiden aunt: fashionable yes, but not 
likely to change the old girl's fundamental 

EASYBUSINESS if you're looking for an 
accountant's dream of a program that will 
give you excellent safeguards against errors 
in data entry. 


Minicomputer ancestry and volume . . . 

Version 3.1; PC DOS; MS-DOS; CP/IVI-86 machines; 
128K (256K recommended); CP/IVI, TURBODOS, 
IVImmOST, UNIX, XENIX; 64K; hard disic 
recommended; 132-column printing capabilities; 
$695/module except Sales Analysis ($348); call 
for specific machine requirements and 
configurations; copy-protected? NO; RealWorld 
Corporation, Dover Road, Chichester, NH 03263; 
800/255-1115 or, NH, 603/798-5700; modules 
available: G/L, A/R, A/P, payroll, order entry, 
inventory control, sales analysis. 

ACCOUNTING is not the accounting software 
for someone who wants to do household 
accounting or keep the books of a cottage 
business, but it is ideal for wholesalers and 
distributors who do volume sales, have a 
large inventory, and deal with numerous 
customers and vendors. In addition to the 
Basic Four~G/L, A/R, A/P, and payroll, 
modules are available for sales analysis, 
inventory control, and order processing. The 
program is derived from a minicomputer 
accounting system and has been on the 
market for eleven years, so it is well-tested 
and predictable. 

This is a double-entry system, but 
transactions can be easily edited in order to 
balance entries prior to posting, unlike some 
systems that require data from each entry 
session to be in balance. 

All reports, except the customized G/L 
financial statements, are pre-designed and 

ready to run. They require a printer capable of 
printing 132 columns. The 3.0 version of 
REALWORLD provides a way to install control 
codes in order to use the compressed print 
feature of most popular dot matrix printers. 
It's mighty handy being able to compress 
these wide reports onto a standard 8I/2" page 
without fooling around. 

The program is written in COBOL, a widely- 
applicable computer language. A multi-user 
version has been introduced for a number of 
local area networks. Because of the number 
of programs and data files for each module, I 
highly recommend a hard disk. 

REALWORD has improved installation 
procedures, but layout of financial statements 
and set-up of payroll tax computations 
require some real work. It's a good idea to 
discuss set-up options thoroughly with your 
accountant before wading in. 

REALWORLD is available only through dealers 
and, because it is complicated to set up, a 
good dealer is invaluable for proper 
installation. Certain dealers are licensed to 
take the original COBOL source code and 
rewrite it to fit unique business requirements. 
Such flexibility makes REALWORLD an 
inexpensive route for acquiring custom 
accounting software without the risk of hiring 
someone to develop your accounting system 
from scratch. 

complicated but excellent system for 
wholesalers and retailers. It also gets high 
marks as a good general ledger for use by 
scrupulous Certified Public Accountants. 

A new small-business package called 4-IN- 
ONE BASIC ACCOUNTING ($995) has just 
been released by the same company. If 
REALWORLD seems like overkill, you might 
take a look at the new program, which 
promises the same high quality as the higher- 
priced software. 

Good payroll soltware is expensive but invaluable 
if you have numerous employees whose hours and 
job rates vary from month to month and year to 
year RealWorld puts out well-tested software with 
excellent safety features. A data integrity program 
helps detect hardware-caused errors before you 
store any faulty information. You won't have to 
worry about undetected errors that can bring IRS 
wrath upon your company's head. 

Multi-user accounting . . . 


Version 2.0 (CP/M 80). Version 3.0 (MS-DOS). Not 
copy-protected. 128K required (exceptions noted). 
Modules available: Ledger (includes Q*Link); 
v.2.0, $595; v.3.0 (requires 256K), $795 « 
Receivables, Payables and Inventory; v.2.0, $595 
ea; v.3.0, $795 each » Payroll; v.2.0, $595 « 
Materials and Sales (hard disk recommended); 
v.3.0, $795 each • Assets; v.3.0, $595 • Q^Word 
and Q* Label (one package); v.3.0, $395 • Q* 
Net; v.3.0, $795 per 4 users ® Q*Link; v.3.0, 
$150. Available from TCS Software, Inc., 6100 
Hillcroft, Suite 600, Houston, TX 77081; 
800/231-6454 or, in TX, 800/392-5973. 

JAN PEHRSON: TCS looks like a clone of the 
SYSTEM, so similar is it in design and 
features. In fact, the originators of TCS and 
PEACHTREE once worked together 
developing software, so it's not surprising 
that both programs seem grown from the 
same root. 

Few accounting programs are designed with 
the kind of database power and the loads of 

useful options that you get with TCS. You 
can extract data from your basic set of books 
and then add or subtract items to get a 
realistic view of the way any single element 
of your business may be functioning— 
particularly helpful for any small businesses 
that must absorb costs and income from a 
number of different sources. TCS modules 
all let you design queries for the database 
using simple English-language commands 
and print the results at any time as custom 

One of the first companies to recognize that 
planning goes hand- in-hand with 
accounting, TCS includes a spreadsheet- 
linking program called Q*LINK that easily 
transfers data from the G/L to 1-2-3 (p. 68), 
SYMPHONY (p. 111), and MULTIPLAN (p. 
70) so you can trot out figures from your 
accounts receivables and project the effect of 
adding service charges to all the accounts. Q 
*LINK lets you pick and choose the data you 
want to transfer, then "map" it into 
worksheet cells. 

Unlike PEACHTREE, TCS is a multi-user 
system. Q*NET allows you to chain up to 

sixteen computers together in groupings of 

When it comes to ease of application, TCS 
does lag slightly behind in its race with 
PEACHTREE, but in ease of learning, it runs 
well ahead. The manuals contain tutorials 
that really give you a feel for the entire flow 
of work. This makes it easy to use for 
teaching our small business clients how to 
manage their books. The documentation 
from Peachtree and Sorcim/IUS isn't as easy 
to grasp. 

flexible of all the accounting programs 
reviewed here and you won't have to hire a 
consultant to get it up and running. It's the 
one program that can give you multi-user 
capability, spreadsheet and word- processor 
interfaces (0* LINK and Q*WORD), a 
mailing-label program (Q* LABEL), and the 
database power to create mailings to both 
present and prospective customers. It's also 
the only one we recommend that has a 
materials-inventory program for 
manufacturers. You can't think of much that 
TCS hasn't thought of first. 


Hard disk on the Apple III . 

Version 3.0; IBM PC and XT (128K) /AT (256K; 
single user only) e Apple lie; 128K; hard disk ® 
Apple III; Profile hard disk » Macintosh; hard disk 
« Tandy 2000; 256K « Tl Professional; 256K @ 
Wang PC; 256K; Apricot; 256K « copy-protected? 
NO; $695/module, single user; $795/module, 
multi-user; Great Plains Software, P.O. Box 9739, 
Fargo, ND 58109; 701/281-0550; Modules 
available: General Ledger with Financial 
Reporting and Budgeting; A/R; A/P; Inventory 
Management with Point of Sale Invoicing; Payroll; 
Rapid Transfer; Job Cost with Estimating, Costing 
and Pre-Billing; Multi-User with Report Maker. 

Great Plains, instead of blank Muzak while 
you wait you get Rosanne Cash, a good 
indication that the company is up-to-date in 
every way. And it is. As Eugene Kramer 

makes clear, the company's programs are 
flexible and well- supported. Great Plains 
now offers true multi-user programs (up to 
16 workstations), RAPID TRANSFER (a 
spreadsheet interface to 1-2-3 (p. 68), 
SYMPHONY (p. 111), VISICALG, and 
MULTIPLAN (p. 70), a new report maker that 
will let you design your own reports, and a 
brand new Macintosh version of the Great 
Plains accounting system. 

allows flexible formatting of financial 
statements and prints these at any time 
during the month or year. It allows four, 
seven, or ten digit account numbers and 
account descriptions up to 30 characters 
long. (Unfortunately, GREAT PLAINS permits 
only twelve accounting periods per year, not 
thirteen.) The system also provides data 
security through password protection, and 
all other security features are superb. The 
documentation is excellent and so is the 

telephone support, which is handled by 
people who specialize in each of the various 

GREAT PLAINS accounting programs are 
written in Pascal, which requires its own 
operating system. They run easily on the 
Apple III. To adapt these programs to IBM's 
PC DOS, GREAT PLAINS supplies an 
intermediary system called BUBBLE DOS. 

This is an excellent accounting system at a 
reasonable price. 

nothing but good reports on GREAT PLAINS 
for both IBM and Apple. Andrea Sharp 
doesn't recommend it for the Macintosh 
because of Mac's problems with speed and 
its lack of a number pad. But if all you own 
is a Macintosh, it's certainly worth a try. 

Prepare Returns (On-screen) 

1) New Name (Active FUename) 1 2) Schd W (Married Cpl Ddn) 

2) Form 1040 (Main Form) 13) Form 2 106 (Employee Expns) 

3) Schd A atemized Deducn) 14) Form 21 19 (Residence Sale) 
4)SctidB Onterest & Divs) 15) Form 22 10 (Tax Underpymnt) 

5) Schd C (Business Prolil) 16) Form 2441 (Child Care) 

6) Schd D (Capital Gains) 17) Form 3468 (Invstmt Credit) 

7) Schd E (Supplmnt Income) 18) Form 4562 (Depreciation) 

8) Schd F (Farm Income) 19) Form 4797 (Supplmt Gains) 

9) Schd G (Income Averaging) 20) Form 5695 (Energy Credit) 
10)SchdR&RP (Elderly Credit) 21) Form 6251 (AltMinTax) 
i 1 ) Schd SE (Sell-emplmt Tax) 

Which do you choose (Esc = exit)? 1 

No more late-night scrambles to the Post Office for 
overloolced forms and schedules. TAX PREPARER 
supplies 90% of the paperwork most people need 
lor returns. It's a preparer, a planner, and all- 
around April 15th wizard. A personal tax preparer 
that's good enough for professionals to use. 


ALTERMftTIVE 1- "2 -3-" f"; ""^ZZ 

1983 1983 I9B3 1983 1983 

1 Filing Status . . . . • 

2 Exeaptions 

3 Hages I Salaries -T 


4 Tito-Earner Ear.'d Incoae-T 


5 Interest -T 


4 Dividends -T 


7 Int k Div Exclusions -T 


JluBp, OalcuUtor, T)ax plan, Rlesults, 

Blroa, SI ingle entry, Blorksheet layout, 

HIeadings, ESC, ? 

THE PERSONAL TAX PLANNER is a tool for making 
investment decisions, solving real estate rent-or- 
purchase dilemmas, deciding job changes, and 
even restructuring settlements from lawsuits. 



Two things are certain . 

Version 85; Apple II family; 64K; $250; ® IBM PC/ 
XT compatibles; 128K • IBM PCjr ® Tl Professional; 
128 K; $295; copy-protected? NO; HowardSoft, 
8008 Girard Avenue, Suite 310, La Jolla, CA 
92037; 619/454-0121. 

WOODY LISWOOD: Death and taxes are 
inevitable here in the U.S. But TAX 
PREPARER almost makes tax preparation 
fun. It helps you look at your taxes in a logical 
manner, helps you prepare the proper 
documentation for your return, and also 
allows you to "what if" your return to see 
how various options, deductions, and 
whatnot might affect the taxes you pay. 

I've used the TAX PREPARER in various 
versions for the past three years. It generates 
schedules and data that are accepted by the 
IRS. There is also a provision for batch data 
entry, if you are a business using TAX 
PREPARER for a number of clients. 

The documentation is complete and to the 
point. I find that the program is very easy to 
use and mostly self-explanatory. 
Remember how many times you had to 
transfer data from form to form when you did 
your taxes by hand? No longer TAX 
PREPARER automatically moves data into 
other areas and forms that use it. This means 
that if you make a change or a correction, all 
else is corrected automatically. 

The program's best feature is the itemized 
lists that you can prepare as detail for each 
appropriate line item in each form. If your 
household is like mine, having some income 
property, a self-employed income, two kids in 
daycare, and so on, you will appreciate sitting 
down with the computer, going through your 
bags of receipts, entering them, and printing 
out the entire form at one sitting . 

TAX PREPARER is expensive, but it hasn't 
increased its price since last year, so it's 
getting to be less so. The new version is also 
full of improvements in help screens and 
automatic calculations. It's simply the best 
personal tax preparer around, in fact, it's so 
good that professionals can use it. So why 
hire them if you can do it yourself? 

Schemer's helper . . 

Version 1.0; Apple II family; DOS 3.3; 64K ® IBM 
PC/XT compatibles; PC DOS; 128K; $99; copy- 
protected? Apple: NO; IBM PC: YES; Aardvark/ 
McGraw-Hill, 1020 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, Wl 
53202; 414/225-7500. 

JOHN OVERTON, attorney: Sooner or later, 
most of us have the odd thought that if we 
refuse to spend most of our time thinking 
about the tax consequences of our daily lives, 
we will inevitably be penalized every April. 
easy-to-use, effective means of modeling tax 


liability, and a tool for making investment 
decisions, solving real estate rent-or- 
purchase dilemmas, deciding job changes, 
and even structuring settlements from 
lawsuits. PERSONAL TAX PLANNER does not 
do your taxes for you or help you keep track 
of your income and deductions, but simply 
answers that powerful query, "What if?" 

The program is essentially two programs of 
similar format: "alternative mode" and 
"projection mode." Alternative mode enables 
the user to compare the present-year tax 
consequences of up to five different courses 
of action, employing any of 48 different 
variables. For instance, is it preferable to 
realize a short-term capital gain of $5000 or a 
long-term capital gain of $4000? Projection 
mode allows the user to project tax 
consequences into the future as far as five 
years, thus making it possible to calculate 
balloon payments, pay raises, inflation, and 
other time-dependent situations. 

Although my law practice is primarily 
copyright and intellectual property, 
complicated tax issues often arise. A client 
may need to know whether it's preferable to 
negotiate for a large advance or for a larger 
royalty payable in future years. 

An accountant's time for this costs 
(conservatively) about $50. If the TAX 
PLANNER can answer these questions for 
you, the program pays for itself. 

planning programs, like Sunrise Software's 
TAX MINI-MISER, offer more sophisticated 
calculating features but cost three times as 
much. If you don't like to part with your 
money, TAX PLANNER is a secure bet. 

A significant time-saver for tfte 
professional tax preparer . . 

Version 2.0; • most CP/M machines; 56K • IBM PC 
compatibles; 96K; 2 disk drives or hard disk; 
Bronze (Individual Package), $295; Silver 
(Professional Package), $995; Gold (Professional 
Package with Laser Print Option), $1,195; 
Partnership and Corporate Packages, $995 each; 
Expatriate (Overseas Tax Package), $2,195; copy- 
protected? NO; Microcomputer Taxsystems, inc., 
2395 Midway Rd., Carrollton, TX 75006; 
800/642-7689 or, in TX, 214/250-7800. 

work time by 20-30 percent, and that's 
absolutely critical during tax season. The 
biggest single time-saver is the carry-over to 
state tax forms. MICRO-TAX repeats the 
federal data on the state form, and then 
allows quick review. You need only enter the 
figures that have to be changed. 

A good tax-preparation program should give 
you flexibility in entry, a wide range of 
schedules, good carry-forward features, and, 
most important, reliable updating and 
support. MICRO-TAX scores well on all 
points. It provides 35 federal and numerous 
state forms, including Foreign Tax Credit, 
Alternative Minimum Tax, and Limitation on 
Investment Interest Expense. It also has a 
very serviceable depreciation module. 

The program is fully integrated and clearly 
designed with the professional in mind. Level 
I contains fourteen of the most commonly 
used schedules, Level II covers at least 95 
percent of the professional tax preparer's 
needs. The company also supplies up-to-the- 
minute information via an electronic mailbox 
on Taxnet through The Source. 










X X 




X X 




X X 




X X 




X X 




X X 




X X 




X X 




X X 




X X 












X X 




X X 








X X 





?1 19 











X X 













HI 37 










D-1 09 




D-1 10 




D-1 13 

MICRO-TAX provides 85-90% of the tax forms 
necessary for prolessional preparation ot federal 
and state tax returns. The company ships updated 
sottware that incorporates the most recent tax law 
changes regularly in January each year. Tax 
preparers can save loads of time entering 
repeated data and use those free hours to take on 
new clients. 

I've prepared tax returns for ten years and 
used MICRO-TAX for three. In addition to all 
the preparation-time benefits, MICRO-TAX 
has also given me another deduction— after 
April 15 every year I'm now in business as a 
computer consultant. 

Heroic planner and preparer . . . 


1984 version. Copy-protected. $195 (street $150). 
IBM PC/XT/AT and compatibles (128K). Best 
Programs, 5134 Leesburg Pike, Alexandria, VA 
22302; 800/368-2405 or, in VA, 703/931- 1300. 

fastest-selling tax preparation software on 
the charts. Two programs come in the same 
box— one is a tax planner that helps you 
choose where and how much to invest to 
minimize your tax bite; the other is the tax- 
form preparer. 

April 14, 1984. I entered my tax data, 
deductions, and so on in response to 
program prompts and menus, and got my 
return into the mail on time the next day. Not 
only would I have overlooked tax deductions 
without it, but with such little advance 

planning I would no doubt have messed up 
the math as well. 

The tax planning program uses your basic 
tax data to calculate coming taxes based on 
the next year's tax rates/brackets and 
changes in the rules. I used the planner to 
figure whether it was better taxwise to buy a 
house or rent when I moved to D.C. You can 
use the planner without using the 
preparation program, but once you've 
entered your data it sure is nice not to have 
to enter it again for the next year's planning. 

tax prep/planner is a great aid, if not a total 
replacement for your accountant. It does not 
advise, but it does everything else. If you 
need to refer to past years (for income 
averaging or credits) it directs you to the 
exact line of your old returns. The program 
is a pleasure to work with. You can succeed 
at even complex tax returns on your own, or 
take a printout with you to your tax 

appointment to greatly streamline the 

THE BEST CONNECTION ($20) links Best's 
PC/TAXCUT If you take time to organize your 
personal recordkeeping around the 
categories required for a tax return, and you 
religiously enter all your checks and other 
expenditures into PFP II, the CONNECTION 
will load that data into your tax file for use 

of programs offers one of the most complete 
home-finance packages available. With it you 
get a professional-quality home finance 
program (the reports, however, aren't up to 
business standards) that includes both tax 
planner and preparer. No other program 
reviewed here will give you exactly this 
combination. The others either let you 
prepare tax forms but not plan, or plan but 
not prepare the final paperwork for the IRS. 


Sharon Rufener, Domain Editor 

This section means business. We'll tall< about software that 
can relieve the paperwork clog and make things possible that 
couldn't get done before the personal computer came into your 

We'll cover the "integrated" all-in-one packages— those 
versatile, multi-talented tools containing a word processor, a 
spreadsheet, a database, and maybe more. The right 
"integrated" package might well be all the software you'll 

If you want to make your own integrated system out of old 
favorites in your software library, take a look at our reviews of 
"integrated environment" software. These products can put 
unrelated programs on speaking terms with each other. 

There are a number of interesting "desk accessories"— handy 
software gadgets that replace your calculator, appointment 
book, rotary card file, and notepad, among other things. 

Maybe you need help keeping your projects under control and 
managing your activities better. We've found the three best 
"project management" packages to keep you on top of it all. 

Need to make your decisions more intelligently? There's a 
program (LIGHTYEAR, p. 116) that helps you weigh all the 
variables and come to a clear-headed conclusion. The first of 
many decision support packages to come. 

Finally, we have what is called "vertical market software"— 
packages designed to handle some or all of the paperwork 
activities for particular businesses or professions. Their 
number is vast, and still growing. Specialized vertical packages 
tend to be more expensive than the integrated packages, 
raising the question: why not get a general-purpose all-in-one 
package instead of one tailored to your type of business? 
Several reasons. It's a major undertaking to design a complete 
business system yourself, and it's expensive to hire a 
consultant to do it for you. Also, integrated packages are 
generally less capable than the ready-mades. 

Since there are way too many of these specialized programs for 
us to attempt to cover, we are including reviews of a few 
favorites from happy users in some of the more common 
occupations. Beekeepers and dulcimer-makers will have to look 
to their favorite trade journals for help. Sorry. 

Wlif if Mat iSWf 

STEWART BRAND: Of course you want it all now. That's why 
you bought a computer. To increase your productivity by 
making your work faster, easier, and more connected to 
itself. You do not wish to spend your day helping machines 
translate code, endlessly manipulating a file received over the 
phone so you can edit it with the WORDSTAR you're stuck 
with, remembering which of your programs speak to each 
other and which don't, remembering the different command 
incantations you must make here and there, searching 
manuals for the fragment of arcana that will break the data 
logjam between your spreadsheet and your database. 

The promise of relief from all that is what makes this domain 
one of the fastest moving in the marketplace. The integrateds 
promise (and mostly deliver) the ability to have most of your 
computer operations all in one program. The integrators 
promise (and mostly don't deliver) the ability to have a facile 
over-program connecting all your existing application 
programs. The verticals promise (and charge royally for) a 
package suited precisely to your business. 

Domain Editor Sharon Rufener 
has been involved on all sides 
of information management. 
As an office manager 
equipped with typewriter and 
adding machine (for a branch 
of the Frank Lloyd Wright 
Foundation, the architecture 
firm that carries on Mr. 
Wright's work), she struggled 
with manual paperwork 
systems. As a COBOL 
programmer and system 
designer for banks and clothing manufacturers, she 
mastered the intricacies of big mainframe systems, while 
getting a law degree and passing the California State Bar. 
Now, as a consultant to small businesses, including County 
Fair organizations, securities marketing firms, and software 
dealers, she relishes the creativity of the micro world, where, 
she says, "hardware, software, and users are closer 
together." Deeply concerned about the quality and 
usefulness of software from the user's point of view, Sharon 
is an appropriate seamstress for this crazy-quilt section. 

Sharon Rufener 


SHARON RUFENER: One message keeps coming through from 
our reviewers: "If I had seen this integrated package first, I 
would never have bought my word processor, spreadsheet, and 
database. This is all the software a person needs!" 

So why did they buy their standalone software? Because before 
Spring 1984, almost no all-in-one packages on the market 
integrated all three main functions into one smooth and easy 
system. Now a lot of products do it. 

CHARLES SPEZZANO: Some critics argue that all integrated 
packages (those combining word processing, database, 
spreadsheet, and maybe more) are collections of mediocre 
programs and urge people to buy the best word processor, 
spreadsheet, and data manager right from the start to avert 
later regrets. 

That's good advice if integrated packages clearly don't have the 
power you need. But what about a psychologist, a consultant, 
or an attorney who wants to write a few letters and reports, 
maintain a simple client database, and maybe put the office 
expenses in a spreadsheet? If an all-in-one integrated package 
has a good--maybe not the best— word processor and throws 
in a file manager and spreadsheet without adding new sets of 
commands to memorize, all for the price of one or two stand- 
alones, then it doesn't make sense for these professionals to 
buy, learn, and try to do-it-yourself-integrate over a thousand 
dollars' worth of individual, unrelated programs. 

What Are Integrated Packages Good For? 

SHARON RUFENER: With an integrated package, you can 
produce more varied documents than with a word processor 
alone. It allows you to include lists, calculations, and in many 
cases, graphs, all on one printout. That can be useful for bills, 
estimates, proposals, business plans, analyses, research 
reports — any communication involving numbers or lists. 

Also, integrated software handles form letters more elegantly 
than do word processing programs with mail-merge 
capabilities. A database module handles a name/address file in 
a friendlier, more versatile fashion than, say, WORDSTAR 
(p. 56) with MAILMERGE. You enter your addresses and other 
data into a form on the screen. You can then select and sort 
records from that file before merging them into the form letter. 

In an integrated program, you can automatically select activities 
and transfer data between them. You could, say, store trans- 
actions (such as sales) on your database, send the numerical 
data to the spreadsheet, and use totals from the spreadsheet to 
generate graphs or charts, illustrating, for instance, how this 
month's sales compare in detail to last month's. 

Reasons for Not Integrating 

Integrated packages are not good for setting up complete single- 
entry accounting systems to run a business. Transactions will 
not automatically post to more than one file. Further, "pass- 
word" file security and data validation for error-trapping, which 
every good accounting system should have, generally are non- 
existent on the integrateds. 

EZRA SHAPIRO: Okay, I confess. I'm a segregationist. I still 
use a lot of the same old programs I used in my CP/M days, 
though I've upgraded to 16-bit (IBM PC/compatible) versions. I 
prefer to stick with the programs I've mastered, particularly for 
word processing and spreadsheeting. 

When I've got something bizarre to do, I crank out one of 
those integrating utilities (see pp. 114-115) so I can play games 
with my data without losing the ease of using software that's 
as comfortable as well-worn jeans. These integrated 
newcomers may be slick, but I prefer the down-home comfort 
of not having to learn anything new, particularly when I've got 
a tight deadline. 

The moral here is simple: if it works, stick with it. If your 
current tools do the job, plunking down the money on a big 
new all-in-one integrated package just to use "state-of-the-art" 
technology is a dumb idea. 

Which One Should You Buy? 

SHARON RUFENER: Which one? It depends— first on your 
hardware, then on your needs. If you have a CP/M system, 
you're out of luck here. The integrated programs were invented 
after the IBM PC captured the marketplace and simply don't 
run on the CP/M machines with their tiny (64K) memories. 
You'll have your revenge, however, if you're looking for vertical 
market software. 

Apple II owners, on the other hand, have one lucky choice: 
APPLEWORKS (p. 108), the only program to outsell 1-2-3 last 
year, is wonderful. 

Shoppers with IBM PCs have the most decision-making to do. 

RUSEL DeMARIA: Having sampled just about all of the 
integrated smorgasbords in the IBM PC realm, I've come up 
with a recipe for the ideal (though mythical) integrated 
program, one that uses my favorite ingredients from three of 
the best. Here it is: I'd start with FRAMEWORK'S (p. 110) ease 
of use; stir in ENABLE's (p. 109) database, word processing, 
and graphics; spice it up with SYMPHONY'S (p. Ill) 
spreadsheet and speed; then blend it all together with 
SYMPHONY'S seamless integration. Well, that's it. Bon appetit! 

SHARON RUFENER: Rusel left ABILITY (p. 111), INTUIT (p. 
108), and the SMART (p. 112) series out of his list. We're 
including ABILITY for those who want the seamless integration 
of SYMPHONY (data is always current in every part of the 
program), don't care very much about word processing, and 
want a good database program. The SMART series is a 
collection of powerful stand-alone applications with beautifully 
crafted bridges between them. We recommend them for people 
designing tailored applications (systems that others will use) 
and for the individual power of each program. INTUIT is the 
only integrated program priced under $100, requires the least 
memory, and would be recommendable at double the price. 

Macintosh owners have reason to look smug. The Mac sets 
you up with a type of integrated environment from the start- 
it's part of the package. Take a look at p. 113. 

108 MAmCING 

state-of-the-art integration lor tlie Apple . . . 


Rupert Lissner; Version 1.2; Apple lie He; 
ProOOS; 64K; 2 disk drives; CQpy-protected? NO; 
S25D; Apple Computer. 20525 Marianf Ave., 
Cupertino, CA 95Q14; 800^538-9696: also 
published as III E-Z PIECES: Rupert Lissner; 
Apple 111; 256K: hard disk recommended; copy- 
protected? YES: S295; Haba Systems, Inc., 15154 
Stagg St., Van Nuys, CA 91405; 818.901-6826. 

CHARLIE CLEMENTS: At last, a program that 
makes my he seem indispensable. 

In this integrated package, everything is 
menu driven. The user works on an electronic 

desktop, a wonderful metaphor that allows 
even the least experienced user to learn 
intuitively to "move" with the program. 
Makes my lie feel like a Macintosh, kind of. 

The word processor is not as muscular as 
APPLEWRITER but more than compensates 
by its elegance of use (see the table on 
p. 50). The cursor is easier to move than in 
any other word-processing program I've 
worked with. 

The database is reminiscent of PFS:F1LE (p. 
80) In the way it lets you design your own 
files. One of the most remarkable features is 
the Zoom command, which allows you to get 
all the information in the database for the 
selected record. 

gamelike appeal^you glide effortlessly from 
one function to another. The manual is written 
in warm and cuddly Apple style. The screen 
menus are clearly labeled , with pictures of file 
folders stacked on top of each other Help 
screens are readily available. It gets files from 
its "desktop" and goes from application to 
application with lightning speed. You can 
have twelve files of any description on your 
desktop at the same time. 

With cut-and-paste you can highlight a block 
of text, move the cursorto where you want it 
inserted, hit return, and your words leap into 
their landing place, no matter which 
application you target. Easy, obvious, and 

APPLEWORKS does the big three: word 
processing, spreadsheet, and fife management, ft 
has an easy, gameliice appeal — options take the 
form of a desktop tilted with files to choose from. 
You can zoom in on ail the data you have filed on a 
particular subject. 

Had APPLEWORKS been available when I got 
programs would never have made it home 
with me. 

DOM SCELLATO: It's possible to import 
outside files into the system, but it may take 
some work unless they're VISICALC files. 
Fortunately— since there's a possibility that 
you might want to use VISICALC along with 
offers standard features such as variable 
cotumn width, the expected mathematical 
functions, plus a way to zoom into the logic 
and look at a formula lurking behind a cell 
with the press of a key— but its less 
powerful than VISICALC. APPLEWORKS runs 
into memory limits at about 6000 cells on a 
128K machine. 

APPLEWORKS keeps everything that you are 
working on in memory, making it very 
speedy, so you should give it 128K worth of 
elbow room (it will run in 64K, but not 
handily), and a second disk drive is 

APPLEWORKS convinced me that I had a 
power tool that would do all the jobs that 
formerly required an assortment of 
programs. This may be the most powerful 
Apple program of all time. 

1-2-3 (p, 68) on the bestseller lists in early 
1985 and as a result, frills and add-ons from 
outside vendors are beginning to appear 
GRAPHWORKS provides a powerful business 
graphics extension, and HABAMERGE 
supplies a spelling checker and a mailmerge 
option for churning out form letters. The 
APPLEWORKS victory is well-deserved; it 
manages to put a lot of capability into the 
basic Apple. (GRAPHWORKS: Walter Horat. 
Version 1.2. Not copy-protected. S79.95. 
Apple lle/llc. APPLEWORKS required. PBI 
Software, 1155-B Chess Dr., Suite 14, Foster 
City, CA 94404; 415/349-8765 • 
MEGAWORKS; Version 1.0. Copy-protected. 
$125. Apple II family: 128K, APPLEWORKS 
required. Megahaus Corporation, 5703 
Oberlln Dr.. San Diego, CA 92121; 

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A steal of a deaf . . . 


Martel Firing: S90 (street price S8D); IBM PC'XT/ 
compatibles [Z56K]: Tandy Models 1000 and 1200 
(256K) Model 2000 (384K): 2 disk drives or hard 
disk recommended; copy-protected; Noumenon 
Corp.. 512 Westline Dr., Atameda, CA 94501; 

SHARON RUFENER: What do most of ttie 
integrated packages have in common? They 
need lots of memory— RAM for processing, 
hard disks for storage, Give them too little 
and they don't run so much as lurch. And 
they cost several hundred dollars. There is, 
however, a nice little product which happily 

INWIT's super- easy spreadsheet can be 
automatically generated from database records, 
including the titles for the rows and columns. The 
spreadsheet understands English. Teli it to "ADD 
TOTAL EXPENSES. " It will automatically add atl 
the applicable blocks of cells and create the TOTAL 

fits into a 256K floppy disk system and can 
be had for a rock-bottom $90! 

INTUIT is an unpretentious system with a 
word processor oriented toward structured 
reports; good form-letter capability; a no- 
frills fite manager; and an easy and 
programmable spreadsheet that does goal- 
seeking and can print out an audit trail. An 
extra $20 gets you a checkbook application 
for the spreadsheet, and you might have 
everything you need for the business you 
run out of your spare bedroom. Tve been 
using INTUIT since summer of '84 and it 
takes care of my integrated requirements just 

major drawback — the program is its own 
operating system with a unique disk format. 
Though the program can transfer files to and 
from DOS disks, you aren't going to be able 
to run any other software without a few 
minutes of fussing. If you're fond of a 
particular spelling checker, communications 
program, or a utility like SIDEKICK (p. 114), 
you're sunk, 


Probably the best . . . 


Version 1.1; S695; IBM PC/XT/AT and 
compatibles: 256K; hard disk recommended; 
copy-protected? HO: The Software Group, 
Northway Ten Executive Park. Ballston Lake. NY 
1Z019; 800 932-0233 or, in NY, 800 338-4646. 

CHARLES SPEZZANO: After evaluating just 
about every integrated package in the IBM 
PC universe, my ctioice is ENABLE. It has 
smooth GUt-and-paste windowing. Great 
word processing. A very-close-to-fuily- 
relational database. A spreadsheet that's 
easy to use, with adequate size and speed 
for most people, A fast and easy 
telecom municatfons package. It has menus 
to get beginners up and running, plus a full 
set of keyboard commands to replace the 
menus, once you get the hang of it. 

I think that most wrfters, professionals, and 
managers will be delighted with it. The word 
processor is unquestionably the best in the 
integrated area, both in terms of speed and 
versatility. The telecommunications module 
integrates word processing better than any 
other package and is a delight. You can write 
something, hop into the telecommunications 
module from the word processing document 
and shoot it off. or do the reverse and edit 
incoming data. ENABLE has a versatile built- 
in utility for converting to and from ASCII 
(plain vanilla text) format {with optional 
stripping of those pain-in-the-neck carriage 
returns and line feeds on the way in) that 
allows me to use the WORD PROOF (p. 62) 
spelling checker almost as if it were part of 
the package. It works just fine with MCI Mail 
(p, 145) and The Source (p. 141), But with 
EIES(p. 147), ENABLE'sVersionl.Ol 
squishes my paragraphs into one. so Tm 
using SMARTCOM II (p. 150) while I wait for 
1.1 to arrive. 

The spreadsheet holds 65,000 cells in your 
choice of configurations, and is speedier 
than everything I've used except 1-2-3 (p. 
68) and SYMPHONY (p. 111). 

The database is a fast and efficient blend of 
commands, menus, and a procedural 
language that doesnl require a semester at 
MIT, Forms are painted onscreen in a handy 
manner, and offer a full array of data 
checking features. Fields in different files can 
be related so that you can have ENABLE 
copy a client's address from one file into 
another or you can put information from 
more than one source into a report. 

Data moves around in a cut-and-paste 
fashion — easy, but there's no interaction 
between modules. That's different from 
programs like ABILITY (p. 111) where a 
worksheet copied into a report is updated 
whenever a change is made in the original. A 
second annoying shortcoming (soon to be 
remedied, the company claims) is ENABLE's 
inability to move data from the word 
processor to elsewhere. This is important 
because it's the word processor that 

captures telecommunicated data, and if that 
information is meant to go to your database 
or spreadsheet, you're out of luck. 

More than any software package I have used 
so far though, ENABLE is, for me, a total 
information management system under one 

SHARON RUFENER: Charles Spezzano is so 
enamored of ENABLE that he abandoned his 
beloved FRAMEWORK, even though he paid 
good money for it. 

WOODY LISWOOD; ENABLE's spreadsheet is 
a 1-2-3 clone with an integrated database 
that has many more options than the 
database in 1-2-3 or SYMPHONY The 
wonderful thing about having the database 
integrated with the spreadsheet Is that you 
can use any of the spreadsheet functions 
(except range) within the database, which 
means you can do things like square roots — 
impossible even in powerful stand-alone 
databases like R:BASE 4000 (p, 87). I have 
two quibbles: it's somewhat slow when you 
fill a worksheet with data, and the size is 
limited; however, you can juggle the 
arrangement of rows and columns within the 
65,000 cell limitation. If you wanted to buy 
only one software package today that does 
most of what you need, ENABLE is my 

LION GOODMAN: As a new computer user 
who needed a powerful integrated package 
but did not want to become a programmer 
or get a program I couldn't master, 1 was 
afraid I might have to make some painful 
compromises. Fortunately, I discovered 
ENABLE. It has all the power i need to run 
my executive search business and handle my 
personal business as well. 

The word processor does everything but 
proportional spacing. The format 
instructions are saved with the document 
(handy for structured forms and reports), 
and you can put "rulers*' (for margin 
settings) anywhere in the document. 

The graphics can use data from the 
spreadsheet or from a database file, but 
generating the graphs can be cumbersome 
and the graphs aren't that special. 

The documentation is clear and well-indexed, 
although I found the system easy and logical 
enough that 1 could learn it with minimal 
reading. There are context-sensitive help 
messages, and 1 got great customer support 
from the publisher (they even have an 800 
number for users). ENABLE comes with a 
tutorial which is also good and helpful. 

Drawing data from the Spreadsheet module, 
ENABLE can create oolorfuf though simple bar 
graphs as part of its very competent but 
unspectacular toolkit. Graphs can be pasted 
directly into a word processing file. 

Windowing with ENABLE lets you create s pie chart 
with data from the spreadsheet while writing a 
description on the word processor. 

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The database module of ENABLE allows long text 
entries with flexible form construction. 




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FRAMEWORK uses an outfine format to group and 
display files relating to a particular job. ft will 
display several of its integrated functions (word 
processing, spreadsheet, database, and graphics} 
in windows — you can shuffle the windows around 
and work on the contents in the top one. 

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showing a onscp*tn htU, u ndgrlined AP\i itfthc text. 

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FRAMEWORK'S best feature is its overall 
organization, shown here in a printoufof the 
screen. The cursor is now on the "A" drive: if you 
bit the return key, a window appears with all the 
"A " drive files listed in it. That's shockingly easy 
compared to most software programs, where 
calling up a new file usually requires mental 

An all-lrt-one geared to text work , , , 


Robert Carr; Version 1.1; IBM PC/XT AT and 
compatibles • OG/ONE • Tl Proressional; Tl Pro- 
Lite • Tandy 2000: 384K: 2 dislc drives or iiigh 
density (728K) disk drive; copy-protected? YES; 
$695; Ashton-Tate, 10150 Jefterson Blvd., Culver 
City. CA 90230; 800/437-4329. ext. 2240 or. in 
CO, 303/799-4900, ext. 2240. 

PATRICIA H. TAYLOR: For my financial 
management business, I typically need to 
write something, then pull up a spreadsheet 
so I can deal with figures, and then slide 
back into writing. It's impossible to do that 
sort of graceful juggling act with separate 

I picked FRAMEWORK because my major 
clients use DBASE III (p. 86) and 1-2-3 (p. 
68) and I needed a program that could 
interact with them. FRAMEWORK has made 
me look like a genius— I can electronically 
communicate with my clients' programs in a 
slick, hassle-free computerized way. 

The word processor's outlining capability is 
a wonderful thinking tool. It lets me juggle 
concepts around, then flesh out my 
"framework" with words or plug-in notes or 
data from another file — it's easy to pull in 
stuff from all directions and move things 
around. Frameworking has enhanced my 
writing productivity considerably — I rarely 
write anything without using it in some 
way— although I do wish their spelling 
checker were in my package instead of still 
on their drawing boards. 

I even prefer FRAMEWORK to 1-2-3 for 
spreadsheeting. 1-2-3's macros are very 
primitive by comparison, and can't perform 
the kind of looping and decision-branching 
logic I need. 1-2-3 is also more fragile — hit 
the wrong key and your spreadsheet may 
collapse like a house of cards. FRAMEWORK 
also has the 'not available" feature, critical 
for statistical analyses based on time-series 
data (if no data is available for a particular 
time slot, it will not distort the results). 

The MITE (p. 151) telecommunications 
module also does what I need, ! use its auto- 
answer function extensively: I leave my 
computer ready to receive and the other 

party can add or extract information at his or 
her convenience. The MITE documentation 
could be better, however. 

It's easy to get into this system — I went 
through the tutorial in about six hours and 
was off and running. And Ashton-Tate's 
support has been excellent^l never have to 
wait on hold more than five minutes, they 
always call me back when they say they will, 
and they're friendly and helpful. 

sleekest of the integrated packages. When 
searching and sorting, the database module 
is a screamer. Everything is in memory and 
things happen in seconds, but there is a 
trade-off in size. You need lots of RAM if you 
want to have giant database files. 

I think the spreadsheet is terrific. It was the 
first one I used seriously, and it let me enter 
that unfamiliar territory with minimal anxiety. 

The word processor is slick and fast, but it 
lacks features serious writers want like page 
counting, page breaks, and protection 
against widowed or orphaned lines. You 
can't print selected pages from a document 
because when you do, you awaken a 
resident bug which screws up the margins. 
Ail the files in all the directories and 
subdirectories on a hard disk are available at 
anytime, onscreen in alphabetical order. You 
can bring reports and databases and 
spreadsheets onto the "desktop" and leave 
them neatly piled on top of one another in 
the corner of the screen, to be opened or 
closed selectively and in a flash. Or open 
them all and go to work, 

visual whizbang of a program; its rapid-fire 
windowing can dazzle onlookers who find 
SYMPHOMYto be appallingly businesslike. 
However, a good bit of similar work has to 
be done to get both programs running full 
bore. Both depend on macro programming 
languages for serious data manipulations. 
Just because FRAMEWORK is easier to 
grasp at first glance, don't be lulled into 
thinking it's a snap to use. Data frames must 
be connected by using the FRAMEWORK 
language, and formatting for fancy output 
requires major gyrations. 




The spreadsheet thai communicates . . . 


Version 1.1; IBM family and compatibles; 384K; 
Version 1.Q; DEC Rainbow • Tandy 2000; 320K; 2 
disk drives; color graphics board required for 
graphics; copy-protected? YES; 5695 (street price 
S400); Lotus Development Corp.. 55 Cambridge 
Pl(wv., Cambridge, tVlA 02142; 617/577-B500. 

generalization of the idea of spreadsheets— a 
virtual machine based upon a checkerboard 
of text and numbers, the way FORTH (p. 
166) IS a virtual machine based upon a 
stack. You can swap data between disk files 
and sections of a workstieet; but all the data 
you're working on has to fit into 
SYMPHONY'S one big worksheet sonnehow. 
It's real estate to be planned and cordoned 
off for your different purposes, and looked at 
through different types of windows— 
especially worksheet and document 

The problem witfi one big spreadsheet is that 
changes can have undesirable effects 
downstate; if you add a column In one place 
it could mess things up in otfier parts of ttie 
worksheet. SYMPHONY localizes these 
effects by letting you fence in rectangles o1 
the grid— "restrict ranges" — which you 
must keep track of. 

SYMPHONY will do unattended dial-up, log- 
in, query, and sign-off, without boxing you 
into a particular data format. You can have 
an unattended home-base machine with 
password security. 

SYMPHONY is not easy at the start. It's 
harder to get into than FRAMEWORK, but 
more powerful if some complex hazy 
application beckons you from the horizon. 
The sel-up complications are fierce, and 
there is real clumsiness; for almost every 
serious operation you have to do a lot of set- 
ups and prearrangements — to dig a garden, 
in effect, before you plant anything, But one 
of the beauties of spreadsheet programming 
is that you can create applications 
incrementally. Get a basic set-up working 
quickly, then use the partially-built system to 
find out how you want to change it, 

A SYMPHONY program can be written 
simply by turning on the LEARN toggle and 
getting down to work. This stores the steps 
for later replay! This "programming by 
example" represents a new kind of 
programming, because you have to think 
about where to set up the rectangles of data. 
You have to think a lot about the origami of 
the big sheet. 

integrated package with document and 
database capability, yet Lotus can't seem to 
make the world see the product as anything 
other than a super-duper spreadsheet, even 
by selling "add-ins" that give it, for 
example, outlining capacity to aid in the 
battle with FRAMEWORK, So why pay to 
upgrade from 1-2-3 (p. 68)? 1-2-3 can be 
made to jump through hoops, too, using the 
proliferation of third-party templates like the 
DSS Optionware series (p. 69). If your 
primary task is spreadsheet work, and you 
need an enormous number of rows as well 
as programmability (and don't mind copy 

protection that makes you keep a disk in 
drive A) SYMPHONY is your best choice- 

plus you get telecommunications and an 
arcane word prcessor thrown in. However, 
to really make SYMPHONY sing, you'll want 
to consider adding a board like the Intel 
Above Board to your IBM PC to give this 
behemoth some breathing room. 




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Using windows to display tite different 
environments is tfie only way to reaily integrate 
SYf^PHOSY's functions. When you create a 
window, what you put in it must be restricted to a 
certain areaoftfie contained environment's 


Delightful database . . . 


Version 1,0; IBM PC,/XT/AT and compatibles: 
320K; 2 disk drives or hard disk; copy-protected? 
NO; Xanaro Technologies, Inc., 321 BIodt St. 
East, Suite 815, Toronto, Ontario M4W 1G9; 
416/927-8369 or. in U.S., 702/322-0144. 

self-evident, completely menu-driven 
program that makes some complicated 
computing tasks very easy and some simple 

tasks very difficult. 

On the tight side, ABILITY is as seamlessly 
integrated as any package Tve tried^the 

only all-in-one program that integrates data 
as well as SYMPHONY. 

Most of the integration takes place through 
the word processor. When you place a 
spreadsheet into a document with ABILITY 
it's the same spreadsheet in both places — 
not a copy. Change either incarnation and 
you are changing the original. It's 
convenient, but also potentially dangerous- 

easy to forget when you're editing a 
document that you're also changing the 

Unfortunately, the word processor is the 
weakest part of the group. Inserting text into 
pre-existing files is tedious and clumsy, 
deleting is awkward, there is no simple 
command to highlight blocks for copying, 
and reformatting is painfully slow. I found it 
exasperating just to write this review using 
ABILITY as my word processor. 

However, ABILITY'S database is a delight. 
Searching, sorting, generating reports, and 
modifying data entry forms after data is 
entered are self-evident and flawless. The 
database is not relational, but two files can 
be easily joined so that a report can pull 
information from both. 

The spreadsheet is almost as large as 
SYMPHONY'S, but not as fast. On the other 
hand, ABILITY can be mastered in a working 
day, while SYMPHONY can be mastered in 

one of the biblical days God took to create 

the world - 

Almost everything proceeds through such 
easy-to-master menus and submenus that 
you rarely have to look at the (excellent) 
manual or call up a context-sensitive help 
screen. You can create macro commands, 
but there is no "learn" function like 
SYMPHONY'S nor enough keyboard 
command shortcuts that bypass the menus 
as in ENABLE (p, 109), You have to love 
menus to like ABILITY because you'll be 
weaving your way through them again and 

SHARON RUFENER: We recommend 
ABILITY to people who want an easy to learn 
all-in-one that has strong, interrelating 
database and spreadsheet modules. Change 
the data in one module and it's changed in 
all — saves data entry time. It's a good 
program for businesses where there's lots of 
fast action and interrelations. 


Megamodeling for big applications . . . 


Version 2.0; IBM PC/XT/AT and compatibles; 
256K; 2 disk drives or hard disk; copy-protected? 
NO; complete package, $895; separate packages: 
DATA MANAGER, $495; Innovative Software, Inc., 
9300 West 110th St., Suite 380, Overland Park, 
KS 66210; 913/383-1089. 

RIK JADRNICEK: This is a great series of 
programs and with each new version I 

The SI\1ART SYSTEM'S opening screen is lilce We 
lobby leading to separate similarly decorated 
workspaces. Whichever way you go, the menu 
structure remains familiar and comfortable, and 
files can be ported from one module to another 

become more and more impressed with the 
company's attention to the needs of end- 
users. I use the SMART SYSTEM to develop 
what I call megamodels. For example, in one 
application I've been working on, I've drawn 
the floor plans of a shopping center in 
AUTOCAD (p. 135), then moved data 
(dimensions, etc.) from AUTOCAD into the 
SMART SYSTEM and can now generate 
database reports that (among other things) 
show lease areas with price per square foot, 
and spreadsheets that do complex lease roll- 
over analyses. Megamodels like this one take 
microcomputing into another dimension- 
one with minimum data entry and maximum 
analysis. I started megamodeling using 
1-2-3 (p. 68) and SYMPHONY (p. Ill), but 
found I was running up against their 
limitations — primarily with copy-protection 
schemes that make it difficult to move 
between these programs and others. 
Fortunately, I could load my 1-2-3 models 
straight into SMART, and with no problem at 
all still use them. The SMART spreadsheet is 
even faster than 1-2-3 because the program 
manages memory so effectively. 

You can buy and use the SMART modules 
separately or as an integrated package. They 
all use the same commands and macro 
commands pull them together by automating 
the transfer of data. You enter the 
commands, SMART remembers the path you 
took and creates a macro— an optimized, 
compiled macro (when you use it later, it 
runs very fast). Since one macro can invoke 
another, I can create complex, multilevel 
operations that move from one program to 
another and from one function inside a 
program to another. 

SMART is easier to use than SYMPHONY or 
DBASE (pp. 85, 86), yet you can develop the 
same kind of applications. You can import 
and export just about any kind of data files 
into any module. There is a time manager 
and a communications program included 
with each module. And each program has its 
own text editor so you don't have to bounce 
into the word processor when you need to 
write something. 

The SMART SYSTEM provides a very 
convenient method of creating an entire 
system, one that carries out routine tasks 
automatically, one through which data can 
flow easily from one application to another, 
and one that's easily modified. 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: You needn't create 
the kind of megamodels Rik creates to find 
good uses for any program in this set. 
Clifford Figallo uses the database program 
alone to manage the Whole Earth Software 
Catalog library (see p. 89). However, having 
the kind of flexibility and depth in these 
programs that Rik describes means that you 
won't outgrow them, nor will your data be 
stuck in an isolated world of its own. SMART 
is particularly good for creating systems 
other people will use. If you are the only one 
working with the data and your applications 
are not particularly complex, you'd find 
ENABLE (p. 109) easier to use and less 

SHARON RUFENER: Setting up an 
interrelated system is not a snap with any 
program. You'll need lots of patience and 
maybe even a computer consultant. 

SHARON RUFENER: Last year the hot products were all-in-one 
integrated software packages; this year the big news is 
"integrators"— programs that let you mix and match your 
favorite software. You can have all the speed — and most of the 
convenience — of the "integrated all-in-one" packages without 
having to give up the familiarity and power of stand-alone, one- 
function applications. With the tools we present on the next 
few pages, you can tailor your own home-built integrated 

EZRA SHAPIRO: Programs that provide software integration- 
easy switching from one sort of task to another— make use of 
two very simple computer secrets. The first secret is that 
programs designed for modern 16-bit machines like the IBM 
PC and the Macintosh rarely use all of the computer's available 
internal memory. Unless you're working with a gigantic 
spreadsheet or an enormous database, chances are very good 
that a lot of your computer's capacity is sitting idle. The 
second secret is that computers are so much faster than you 
are that they spend most of their time merely waiting for you to 
do something. While you're typing a memo, all the time 
between your keystrokes (nothing to you, but forever to your 
computer) is wasted. 

You can stuff other programs into that unused memory, which 
can then pop up like lightning because you don't have to wait 
for the computer to read them from a disk drive. And you can 
take those centuries between your keystrokes and let the 
computer do something productive with them; why let the 
machine take a nap while you're working? 

That, in a nutshel 

is the theoretical basis of software 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: IBM PC "integrated environments" 
like TOPVIEW, GEM (p. 168), and Microsoft's not yet released 
WINDOWS all let you run application programs within their 
windows as does Mac (GEM even looks like the Mac), but you 
can't cut and paste between applications unless the programs 
were written with the "environment" in mind. Thus, the three 
giants (IBM, Digital Research, and Microsoft) are vying for 
support from software developers. The recommendation of any 
one of the three must be based, therefore, on the quantity and 
quality of software that runs within a particular 
"environment." As of yet, there's simply not much support for 
any of them. Before you consider buying any of the three, find 
out whether the software you want to use in the environment 
has been adapted to run in the environment— otherwise, all 
you get is a shell that, albeit quite clever and cute, simply 

%j IIJ 

masks the operating system, and is worth considering only if 
you absolutely hate seeing the A> and don't want to learn DOS 
commands. You might have more fun instead with a program 
that doesn't insist on having the world conform to it— one of 
the "desk accessories," a "context-switcher," or try a 
"concurrency" program, until it's clear who wins this game. 

"Desk accessories" are useful little programs that let you 
perform tiny but essential tasks like jotting down an 
appointment or dredging up a phone number, without having to 
shut down your application program. Usually only a keystroke 

or two is needed to pull one of these tools onto a corner of 
your screen. 

"Context-switching" products allow you to load several 
programs into your computer and casually flip among them 
without having to get back to the operating system. 

"Concurrency" programs can be used the same way as 
context-switchers, but they add an important feature- 
programs not shown on the screen can continue to process 



JOHN LEININGER: In the old days, when you wanted to add information or 
pictures to your documents, you had to use pen, ink, scissors, and glue. Now 
you can do it on the Macintosh (p. 20) with the click of a mouse. 

The Macintosh operating system facilitates the movement of data from one 
program or document to another. You can Copy, Cut, Paste, and put things into 
a temporary storage slot (the Clipboard). Let's say you have a word processing 
document and you want to move some of it into another one. You locate the 
part you want and highlight it by clicking the mouse at the top and bottom of 
the section. You then pull down the menu for Edit, and select Copy or Cut. The 
Macintosh makes a copy or moves the original to Clipboard. You display your 
second document and Paste the stuff stashed in the Clipboard into place. The 
information stays in the Clipboard so you can plop it to as many places as you 
like. If you need to copy more than one block of data into temporary storage, 
you can use a "desktop accessory" called the Scrapbook (sort of a larger 
Clipboard) that holds items for future use. 

Since the Cut, Paste, and Clipboard functions are always available, the 
Macintosh allows you to choose the applications you want. In effect, you can 
tailor your own "integrated application" and expand and modify it as you 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: Using the Mac's cut-and-paste functions, you can 
scissor together data (numbers, pictures, or text) from many programs so that 
the graphic result looks seamless— but the data from one program is totally 
unaware of the data from another. Transferring data between programs so that, 
for example, a database program actually uses data from a spreadsheet 
program is nearly as easy but the programs themselves must agree to 


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The map above shows d 
conference i»i I i lake pi nee 
froni downtown San Franc isc 

%n Friday a 

Register "PTn Friday at Bui Iding ft. or if you arrive on Saturday, at 
Building C 

Sunday's sessions will be held at the Chapel, ir.orked on the map beto 


Heading north on 101. cross the Golden Gate Bridge and take the first 
ixit after the bridge (Alexander Rvenue) Stay to the right and proceed a 
little mays down the hill Take the first left, and you will come to a 

g tunnel Proceed through the tunnel and stay on Ihat rood ''Bunker 
5oad> out towards Fort Ci-onkhite Beach Ju5t before you .jet to thie t«ach, 
jou will see on your right-hand side a sign marked Headlands Caapus at 
the Voseniite Insiilule " Go right up the drioeway and park 


Bmk Mem§§m0§ 

accessories (p. 114), or "pop-up" 
programs that remain resident in 
memory, give you ready access to a set 
of quick little tools no matter what 
application you're using. They really 
encourage you to think of software as 
part of an environment. 

SHARON RUFENER: The ones we like 
for the IBM PC realm are DESK 
ORGANIZER (full-powered desktop 
integration), SIDEKICK (amazing 
bargain), HIGGINS (a personal butler on 
a diskette), and POP-UPs (handy little 
tools). Which desktopper is for you? 
HIGGINS has its own relational 
database, for organizing major 
activities. If you need a heavy-duty 
appointment calendar/daybook, 
complete with alarm clock and phone 
dialing, get DESK ORGANIZER. If you 
want to cut'n'paste almost as though 
you had a big ticket integrated system, 
POP-UP DESKSET is your best bet, 
although the others can shove data 
around also. With lots of notes to 
stash, you will like DESK ORGANIZER'S 
handy indexing better than SIDEKICK'S 
file IDs. For almost-serious word- 
processing both SIDEKICK and DESK 
ORGANIZER are ahead of the POP-UP 
product. If a multi-talented alarm clock 
is needed, grab the POP-UP $5.00 
wonder, or settle for the less versatile 
one provided by DESK ORGANIZER. 
Programmers will appreciate 
SIDEKICK'S ASCII table and the 
calculator which can do hexadecimal 
math as well as the normal kind. 

Many of these programs owe their 
inspiration to the Macintosh. 



1 14 

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»ktmf SOU MM dotnrofi 


./WiMyoueJillSiMKICK,: ' 
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f- ■» T * MB 

Push-button convenience 


IBM PC/XT/AT/3270 and compatibles; PCjr; uses 
up to 110K (depending on the features chosen); 
not copy-protected; $69.95; Bellsoft, Inc., 2820 
Northup Way, Bellevue, WA 98004; 800/44P-OPUP 
or, in WA, 206/828-7282; DESKSET PLUS includes 
TELECOMM; $129.95. 

For note-taking and organizing . 

Collopy, Hesman & Milner; IBM PC/XT/AT and 
compatibles; 128K • Macintosh; copy-protected? 
NO; $99; Warner Software, Inc., 666 Fifth Ave., 
9th Floor, New York, NY 10103; 212/484-3070. 

DAVE SMITH: Now that I've used DESK 
ORGANIZER on a daily basis for months to 

A dastiboard fuil of utilities for tlie 
IBM PC... 

Version 1.5; IBM PC/XT/AT and compatibles; IBM 
PCjr; copy-protected version, $54.95; non copy- 
protected version, $84.95; Borland International, 
4585 Scotts Valley Dr., Scotts Valley, CA 95066; 

JAMES STOCKFORD: This new windowing 
utility promises to be as indispensable as 
socks and underpants. No matter what 
program you're using, push a button and 
SIDEKICK'S calendar, notepad, calculator, 
phone dialer, or ASCII conversion chart will 
immediately pop up on the screen. 

SIDEKICK let us put ttiis review, a calendar, an 
appointment log from tlie calendar, and a 
calculator all onscreen at once. Handy for anyone 
who spends a lot of time in front of a screen. 

SHARON RUFENER: A tidy bundle of 
software tools at a very tidy price. All these 
mini-programs (formerly called POP-UPs) 
retain their pop-up character— sitting quietly 
in the background, then popping up to 
perform a handy task when you call. 

DESKSET contains all our recommended 
access), plus three new ones that didn't 
arrive in time for review: POPWORD, which 
replaces NOTEPAD and absorbs CLIPBOARD; 
POP-UP ANYTHING, runs two programs at 
once; and POP-UP VOICE to dial your phone 
in the middle of other tasks. 

With POP-UP ANYTHING keeping two 
programs open at the same time, and 
POPWORD (nee CLIPBOARD) sending 
screens full of data back and forth between 
them, you get a bit of software integration at 
a very low price. 

Like a Swiss Army knife of desk accessories, the 
POP-UP DESKSET covers all of the incidental 
chores a desk-bound computer professional might 
encounter through a typical day at work. 

organize what I once jotted down 
haphazardly on yellow pads, dirty napkins, 
and outdated maps, it has become like an 
old friend, waiting faithfully at my desk to 
assist me whenever called upon. 
Disappointingly, it does not nag me to keep 
it updated. If I neglect it for a while, it gets 
stale and useless, just like my messy desk 
used to. But if I keep on top of it, it 
responds admirably. 

Here's how it works. When you start your 
machine, boot up SIDEKICK right after you 
boot up your operating system. Then load any 
program you want to use and begin working. 

SIDEKICK sits invisibly in the computer's 
RAM memory. When you call SIDEKICK, the 
program you're working on stops dead in its 
tracks, leaving whatever you were doing on 
the screen. The SIDEKICK utilities you choose 
appear in windows on top (in various colors, 
if you have a color monitor). The perpetual 
calendar includes a daily appointment 
scheduler; the notepad is a simple word- 
processing program that uses WORDSTAR 
commands; the dialer is not a 
communications program but can (if you 
have a modem) dial any number stored in a 
phone list; the calculator includes basic 
arithmetic (binary and hexadecimal) plus nine 
nested levels of parentheses and logic 
operators. You can slide the windows around 
to peek at work underneath and run the 
cursor all over the screen as a pointer. When 
you've finished with SIDEKICK, you push a 
button and the main program begins again 
exactly where you stopped. Text and data 
entered into SIDEKICK can be moved into the 
program you're using, or saved in a file to be 
moved into another program later. 

it's ail related . . . 

Version 1.0; IBM PC/XT and compatibles; 256K; 
hard disk required; copy- protected? YES; $395 
(street price $270); Conetic Systems, Inc., 1470 
Doolittle Dr., San Leandro, CA 94577; 415/430- 

RICHARD DALTON: I think I've gotten lucky 
with a sneaky-fast program named HIGGINS. 
HIGGINS takes on the Herculean task of 
providing access to all appointments, "to- 
do" items, people you need to contact, 
expenses you incur, notes you make, and 
correlates these with various projects or 

HIGGINS offers more than other "desktop 
organizer" software. It is built on a fully 
relational database manager, but you never 
have to do anything to make use of its 
sophisticated features! You merely tell 
HIGGINS to relate an appointment to X 
project and Y person and it's there. 

What are the drawbacks? It's slow (but 
much faster than juggling paper). It isn't 
very flexible (expenses have to be 
accumulated in fixed categories). It will 
schedule conflicting appointments without 
notifying you. It requires a hard disk and it 
costs a lot (but then so does 
disorganization). Still, it's the best I've seen 
in the embryonic "people and event 
management" software category. 



Switch between programs on ttie IBM PC . . . 

Jonathan More; Version 3.0; MS-DOS/PC DOS 
machines; 128K; copy-protected? YES; $99 (non- 
copy-protected version, $125); DESK/SHIFT; $169 
($100 to upgrade from MEMORY/SHIFT); North 
American Business Systems, 3840 Lindell 
Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63108; 314/534-7404. 

the spiritual parent of all the context- 
switchers on the market. It's a generic MS- 
DOS program, which means it runs on Tandy 
and Tl machines as well as IBMs and 
compatibles. A simple installation program 
lets you divide your computer's memory into 
as many partitions as you want for separate 
applications. However, you can load more 
than one program into each partition (you 
can run a "desk accessory" along with an 
application), and you can also load "global" 
memory-resident programs (RAM disks and 
"desk accessories"), so you can get to them 
from any partition. Gut-and-paste data 
transfer from one partition to another is easy 
and smooth. It's been around a long time 
and Jonathon More, its author, has learned 
how to make it nearly crash-proof. You can 
buy it by itself, or as part of a larger 
collection called DESK/SHIF, that also 
includes the POP-UP DESKSET (p. 114) and 
BATON, a communications program. 

Switciiing programs on a Macintosh . . . 

WlllirlEli V 

For availability, contact your local authorized 
Apple dealer or Apple Computer, 20525 Mariani 
Ave., Cupertino, CA 95014; 800/538-9696. 

JAY KINNEY: SWITCHER is a utility program 
which enables the owner of a 51 2K MAC to 
switch back and forth, nearly instantly, 
between different programs without having 
to go through the tedious formalities of 
terminating one program and loading 
another. This is good news indeed for those 
MAC owners who already have separate 
spreadsheet, word processing, and business 
graphics programs and would like to be able 
to bounce between them. 

It doesn't turn your MAC into a multi-tasking 
computer with different programs running 
concurrently. Rather, it simply halts one 
program in its tracks when you move over to 
use another, enabling you to take up where 
you left off when you switch back again. 

Macintosh to make good the previously 
broken promise of painless integration 
between programs, and it's fun to watch— it 
uses an animation routine where one 
program slides out while the other slides in. 

To really fulfill the power of SWITCHER, you 
should use it with a hard disk drive (or a 

double-sided floppy drive) so you can 
quickly load up all your programs without 
swapping disks. Although it can handle 
several programs at once, I find that more 
than three on a 51 2K Mac is pushing it. I am 
happy as a clam when balancing a humble 
two programs, because previously moving 
stuff between, say, communications and 
word processing programs meant staring at 
that despicable watch icon until fossilization 

For quick switching between NIacintosli 
programs, there's nothing lilce SWITCHER. 


BARBARA ROBERTSON: Although "context-switching" 
software, like MEMORY/SHIFT and SWITCHER that allows you 
to jump from program to program without reloading, seems to 
be relatively solid stuff, when you add "concurrency" (the 
ability to run more than one active program at the same time), 
things get sticky. All the concurrency utilities we looked at in 
the IBM PC world were both complex and frighteningly fragile; 
they had a tendency to crash repeatedly and unexpectedly. 
While the lure of running one program in background while you 
work on another in the foreground may be hard to resist, 

programs that offer this kind of concurrency are not for the 
naive, nor the faint-hearted. 

Remember, too, that concurrent processing creates some new 
problems. If two programs try to access the same file at the 
same time, which one wins? What about the printer? Finally, 
concurrent processing implies splitting up the 
microprocessor's activity. If a program on the screen is doing 
something simple, like waiting for input into a document or 
spreadsheet, and a program off-screen is doing heavy 
computational work, you're probably going to experience some 
slight delays in the foreground. If both foreground and 
background programs demand serious computing power, they 
will run at half-speed, and sometimes even more slowly. 

Easy, but . 

Version 1.2; IBM PC/XT and compatibles; Version 
2.0; IBM AT; 256K; Hammer Computer Systems, 
900 Larkspur Landing Circle, Suite 250, Larkspur, 
CA 94939; 800/228-9602 or, in CA, 800/423-5592. 

KEN MILBURN: Its cute name belies its 
purpose. E-Z-DOS-IT is a utility that allows 
the simultaneous execution of as many as 
eight programs on a PC DOS/compatible 

E-Z-DOS-IT runs in as little as 256K of RAM. 
It requires only 5 to 15K of memory 
overhead, plus whatever memory is required 
of the application programs you want to run. 
So it is practical to use on a floppy system 
with a couple of business programs whose 
applications complement one another. A 
word-processor and a communications 
package, for instance. 

Windowing systems like TOPVIEW severely 
limit the choice of available applications and 
can take hours to set up. Because E-Z-DOS- 
IT can make allowances for some programs' 
input/output idiosyncracies, you can run a 

wider range of applications than any of the 
windowing packages will allow. 

programs at the same time is a charming 
idea; you can, for example, be downloading 
one file while you're editing another. 
However, E-Z-DOS-IT does complicated 
things to computer memory, and it may not 
be the panacea it seems at first glance. Fair 
warning: it's hard to predict how a set of 
application programs will interact in this 
concurrent environment (and impossible to 
test all the combinations), and crashes are 
not uncommon. 

Cover-your-ass software . . . 


tHjli I I CrUi ^^ 

Version 1.0; IBM PC/XT/AT and compatibles; 
192K; copy-protected? YES; $495 (street price 
$335); Lightyear, Inc., 1333 Lawrence Expressway, 
BIdg. 2, Santa Clara, CA 95051; 408/985-8811. 


CRITERION: Uaa Uniqueness 




Special Effects 
Laser Ray 

Slttine Fratty 
Bubble Trouble 
stunt Car 



SHARON RUFENER: Psychologists tell us 
that the human brain can hold only about 
seven items in its "short-term memory." 
Many of us, when pressed for a decision, 
will mull over only those seven or so factors 
which land on the tops of our heads, 
regardless of their weight or relevance, and 
then lurch into action. What's needed is a 
methodology for dealing with the variables. 
Here's how the elegant and expensive 
LIGHTYEAR could help . . . 

Say you're shopping around for a car and 
your head is swimming with information. No 
problem. Pop LIGHTYEAR into your PC, 
enter the car names, type in all the 
important criteria (price, mileage, comfort, 
etc.) and specify how important each item is 
(very, somewhat, etc.). Then, give each car 
a score for each of the criteria (rate the 
FlashMobile excellent for beauty) and add 
rules if you like ("If the car costs more than 
$10,000, then mileage must be more than 
40 mpg"). You make lots of little decisions, 
LIGHTYEAR adds everything up and makes 

A LIGHTYEAR Graphic Value screen. Beginning at 
the top with Special Effects, use the right and left 
arrow keys to move the xtoa position between 
"least desirable" and "most desirable. " 

the big decision: a competitive ranking of the 
contenders displayed in bar chart form. 

blast to use, even if you could do the same 
thing with almost any spreadsheet. Presents 
data in an informative manner and the 
graphics make seeing the results of your 
decisions rather frightening. I suspect that 
with a little practice you could prove 
anything to anybody with LIGHTYEAR. It is 
too bad that you supply all the weighting 
because you know, then, what the answer 
will be before you start. Even if it is 

STEVEN LEVY: I agree with Woody on 
LIGHTYEAR. The idea, though, is that 
someone will eventually generate templates 
(third-party? or LIGHTYEAR? Both, sez 
LIGHTYEAR) with the weighting built in. So 
you can get the T Boone Pickens template 
which picks out an oil company to take over, 
after you give simple data on various 
companies. I guess those templates (which 
have yet to appear, and probably won't 
unless lotsa people buy LIGHTYEAR) owe it 
to the user to provide the formulas for 
weighting. In any case, it's not a decision- 
maker but an ass-coverer. 

see what's going on (or should be going on) at any given 

SHARON RUFENER: Suppose you need to whip up a time or 
cost estimate for the job. Or do a feasibility study. Or track the 
progress and reschedule when things don't come through as 
expected. That's where project management software comes 

The Critical Path Method (CPM) shows which tasks can happen 
concurrently and which must be sequential, identify the 
"critical" sequence, and show how changes or slippages affect 
the completion date of a project— and can appear alone or in 
combination with Gantt or PERT charts. 

PERT charts (Program Evaluation Review Technique) illustrate 
relationships and dependencies among tasks using boxes and 
connecting lines. They're good for a first pass at an upcoming 
project or when you want the big picture of how things fit. 

Gantt charts show tasks as horizontal bars on a time grid. You 

The beauty of computerized management is that you can 
automate the tedious process of designing, drawing, and 
calculating the various interacting elements and putting them 
all together in presentable form. You can try out changes 
without having to redraw an entire chart. And, you can store 
records of prior projects and have a handy knowledge-base to 
assist in future projections. 


n 10, 


Prepared by Hike Posehn 





Job Description 5 














7 8 1 

t Lay 1st part of pipe 





6 Fill 1st part of trench 




7 Lay 2nd part of pipe 



= > 

8 Fill 2nd part of trench 


9 Repave street 

10 Repair sidewalk 

11 Project completed 

Operating Engineer=l 















Total manpower level=4 







Manpower cost=2- 

5K 2 

5K 2.5K 







Direct cost=75K 







TNOtal cost=.77K 2 

5K 7.5K 







Symbol ~ Explanation 

> > Duration of a normal jo 


> > Slack time for a normal 


>====> Duration of a critical 



>::::> Duration of a completed 


* Job with zero duration 

> Job with no prerequisit 


> X Job with no successors 

Project management in the CP/M world 

Organic Software; Version 1.14; CP/M-80; 64K ® 
CP/M-86; 128K ® IBM PC and MS-DOS 
compatibles; 128K; copy-protected? NO; $295; 
Digital Marketing, 2363 Boulevard Circle, Suite 
8, Walnut Creek, CA 94595; 415/947-1000. 

STEWART BRAND: Someone loaned me a 
copy of MILESTONE, a critical-path method 
scheduling program. I nibbled at it tentatively, 

A project such as laying a new length of water 
main can be studied, analyzed, scheduled and 
budgeted using a project manager like 
MILESTONE. Even the levels of expertise and 
wage levels of workers can be considered as 
seen in this critical-path report. 

like a cat. It's pretty inviting. Soon I was 
inventing tasks and durations and 
prerequisites and pay levels, and the thing 
lined them up neatly, and correlated them, 
and prominently displayed the critical path of 
tasks that hadto be done in sequence and the 
minimum time that would take. "Wanna print 
out?" it offered. "Sure." The printer snarled 
for a full minute, and I had a four-way 
analysis of the whole operation. 

Instant scheduler. I'd messed around the 
subject of critical-path method for years, read 
and reviewed the books, spoken well of the 
technique. Now I was doing it. Power Not 
just to me: to anybody in the shop who 
wanted to use the clarity and flexibility of a 
mutually made and understood schedule. 


Visible training wheels . . . 

Version 1.0; Macintosh; copy-protected? NO; $125 
(street price $81); Apple Computer, 20525 
IMarianI Ave., Cupertino, CA 95014; 

SHARON RUFENER: You start by drawing a 
"Schedule Chart"— dragging boxes from a 
menu onto a window area, typing names 
(tasl<s) into each box, specifying which tasl<s 
are milestones, then connecting them with 
lines to show the order in which things must 
be done (dependencies). 

Next, you bring up a form to enter duration 
(minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months) 
and resources (people or equipment, 
usually) for each task. The result is a PERT 
chart that shows starting and ending dates 
for each task and highlights the critical path. 
Or, switch to Gantt charts and view the same 
project from other perspectives—a Task 
Timeline arranges activities chronologically; 
a Resource Timeline groups tasks by 
resource. You can have six resources per 
task, 50 resources per project, 200 tasks if 
you have 128K RAM, 2000 tasks if you've 
got 51 2K. 

You can enter fixed costs and income for 
each task and costs per resource to generate 
two tables: a Cash Flow Table for a running 
"balance sheet" by time interval; a Project 
Table shows price per task. Change any part 
of the underlying information and the 
program automatically recalculates 

You couldn't send a rocket to Saturn with 
this program, but you could plan a wedding 
or build a cottage. It's unsuitable for 
complex projects because it's single-layered; 
you can't have sub-projects. However, being 
able to see a project take shape on the 
screen is probably the most sensible way to 
visualize and work through any problem 
involving entities and relationships. 

Two views of Whole Earth's budding WELL project 
(p. 148) drawn by MACPROJECT. The Gantt chart 
(top) lets us see what should be going on at any 
given time. The PERT chart (bottom) shows how 
each task relates to the overall project (critical 
tasks are highlighted by bold boxes). One of the 
great things about project management software 
is that you can convince yourself that wildly 
improbable things are likely to happen. 



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Brainstorming with PERT charts 

IBM PC/XT/AT and compatibles; 256K; 80-column 
display; copy-protected? NO; $395 (street price 
$200); Sorcim/IUS Microsoftware, 2195 Fortune 
Dr., San Jose, CA 95131; 408/942-1727. 

software to get if you are more interested in 
defining a project before the work starts than 
in tracking and tweaking the ongoing 

WOODY LISWOOD: This program is a 
winner. I was able to start it up and use it 
without ever looking at the documentation 
and I cannot say that about any other project 
manager I have used. One feature usually 
lacking in these programs is proportional 
use of resources— a way to include people 
who work on a project over ten days, but 
only for two hours a day. SUPERPROJECT is 
fantastic in this area. You can assign a 
resource to work all available time, a 
percentage of the time, or specify exactly 
how many hours will be worked at what rate. 

You control the program. Since changes can 
be recalculated continuously or when you've 
finished, you can "what-if" project costs. 
You can arrange data in a variety of ways: by 
date, alphabetically, or by node number. 

SUPERPROJECT prints out nice PERT and 
Critical Path charts; Resource Allocation and 
other reports are printed in SUPERCALC (p. 
67) spreadsheet format. To get maximum 
use you will want to transfer data to a 
spreadsheet— directly to SUPERCALC2 (or 
greater) or a spreadsheet that uses DIF 
format; via a file transfer program (see pp. 
72, 156) to another type of spreadsheet. 

My only complaint is that I found the format 
for the Critical Path/Gantt chart confusing 
and hard to read because it uses letters to 
specify paths instead of arrows and 

best conceptual tool on the IBM PC for 
project definition. There's no better way to 
get an overview of a project than by 
brainstorming with PERT charts. 


SUPERPROJECT lets you look at all the details of 
a task at once; any changes made here will be 
rellected in the overall project. On a color screen, 
project paths are differentiated very effectively by 



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This TIME LINE Gantt Chart lists the project tasks 
that match the two specified criteria: projects 
assigned to Jo and CM. 

Gantt charts and project control . . . 


Version 2.0; IBM PC/XT/AT/3270 and compatibles; 
256K; 2 disk drives or hard disk; copy-protected? 
NO; $495 (street price S300); Breakthrough 
Software Corp., 505 San Marin Dr., Novato, CA 
94947; 415/898-1919. 

SHARON RUFENER: This heavy-duty 
manager is the best one to get for 
monitoring large projects and keeping 
complex activities under control. It permits 
gaps and overlaps between dependencies; 
allows task splitting and priorities; 
reschedules backwards from deadlines; sorts 
on user-defined criteria; and can "filter" 
(extract) the critical path as a separate file. It 
can store unlimited tasks per schedule with 
each one having unlimited dependencies. 

TIME LINE uses the Gantt chart as its main 
tool and can generate PERT charts as a 
secondary view of the situation. The charts 
can be multi-level— you can break large jobs 
into sub-projects. 

TIME LINE allows partial allocation of 
resources, resource pooling, and resource 
histograms. Reports show what's happening 
during a particular time frame, point out 
conflicts, and can serve as assignment 
sheets. You can also get summary reports, 
and planned vs. actual reports to see 
manpower and costing variances. 

The costing capabilities are more powerful 
than competing programs. Cost reports can 
be generated by resources, tasks, week or 
month. You assign hourly, daily or weekly 
rates to people resources; fixed, variable or 
miscellaneous costs to other resources; and 
up to eight costs per task. Costs for each 
task can be accrued at the beginning of the 
task, prorated, or calculated at the end. 

TIME LINE offers menus similar to those in 
1-2-3 (p. 68), context-sensitive help, data- 
entry forms, and exemplary documentation. 
It handles data transfer easily to and from 
1-2-3, SUPERCALC3 (p. 67), MULTIPLAN (p. 
70), DBASE II (p. 85), and (soon) DBASE III 
(p. 86). 


wuSmm® mi 

SHARON RUFENER: Thousands of software packages have 
been created to serve specific business needs . . . almost 
every one created in-house by a lawyer, a wholesaler, a farmer, 
a booking agent, or some other computer purchaser/user/ 
pioneer who forged his or her own solution to the problems of 
paperwork and information management. 

Some people wrote programs from scratch (or hired 
programmers to do it for them). Others used an existing 
"productivity tooi"--usually a database program such as 
DBASE II (p. 85), or a spreadsheet package like 1-2-3 (p. 68), 
and created a "template" or an "application." This type of 
cottage-Industry software seems to share some common traits: 
It Is inelegantly packaged; not well marketed; the 
documentation Is amateurish; most of it runs on out-of-date 
CP/M machines, often slowly. On the other hand, each 
program was created to serve a real-life need by someone who 
understood that business. 

A second type of program comes from small software firms 
who have taken their generic accounting packages and adapted 
them to various types of business needs. Since these products 
are designed for everyone and no one, they tend to be less 
than Ideal. 

Finally, we are starting to see more software professionally 
produced and tailored to specific types of businesses. 

How do you find out what's available for you? Computer 
publications targeted at the mass market rarely devote precious 
space to software targeted for particular niches. Trade 
journals, however, are starting to carry ads for a few of the 
products and an occasional article describing a particular 
program. There are new magazines emerging which focus 
entirely on industry-specific uses of computers and software. 
These publications are caught In a journalistic dilemma— they 
depend on the products they are covering for much of their 
advertising revenue. Objective and hard-hitting coverage is not 
a practical course for them, so their articles tend to resemble 
publicity releases rather than critical reviews. 

Finally, for the modem-equipped, there are national database 
services, bulletin boards, and online conferences for gossip- 
collecting. The databases have hardware and software 
Information, news stories, market and technical Information, 
and, often, online programs you can use from your computer. 
The bulletin boards and conferences let you send and receive 
messages and make personal contacts across the continent. 
Check the Telecommunlcatng section's recommended online 
databases (Tapping into Databanks, pp. 143 to 145), and 
services like ONE-POINT and .MENU (p. 141) for more 




Online data for doctors . . 


Free to participating physicians only; 24-liour 
service; PDR updated daily; Fisher-Stevens, Inc., 
Campus Rd., Totowa, NJ 07512; 800/922-0352 or, 
in NJ, 800/221-4225. 



Available at normal Dow Jones rates (see table, 
p. 140); Dow Jones/News Retrieval, P.O. Box 300, 
Princeton, NJ 08540; 800/257-5114 or, in NJ, 

$50 registration; plus $15/monthly minimum; plus 
$32/hour (6 a.m. - 6 p.m., local time) or $20/hour 
(after 6 p.m., weekends and holidays); BRS/ 
Saunders, Colleague, 1290 Avenue of the 
Americas, New York, NY 10019; 800/468-0908 or, 
in PA and outside continental U.S. (call collect), 

RUSEL DeMARIA: There are several 
telecommunications databases available to 
doctors, including BRS (p. 143), DIALOG (p. 
143), and PHYCOM— a free bulletin board 
system provided by the pharmaceutical 
industry for information about drugs. 

SHARON RUFENER: Doctors can also get 
medical and drug information on more than 
a thousand illnesses from the same service 
which helps them (<eep track of their 
investments— Dow Jones News Service (p. 
142). This informational database is called 
//MEDX, and although it does not diagnose 
illnesses, it provides supplemental 
background data. 

Another online medical library, called 
COLLEAGUE, supplies medical literature in 
the form of books, journals, indexes and 

Newsletter for computerized law offices 


S120/yr (12 issues); $95/yr new charter 
subscribers; LOGIC, 3315 Sacramento, Suite 407, 
San Francisco, CA 94118; 415/923-1747. 

SHARON RUFENER: So far, we haven't seen 
a computer magazine for lawyers, but here's 
a monthly newsletter which covers the 
territory. It's called LOGIC (Law Office Guide 
in Computers), and it's published by the 
computer consulting firm of Remer, Remer 
& Dunaway. Since it carries no advertising, 
it's in a position to give tough reviews to 
software products. 

Meeting tiouse for non-city folk 

S15.50/hour; U.S. Soil, Inc., RO. Box 926, 
Salida, CO 81201; Voice: 303/539-3535, data: 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: This inexpensive 
bulletin board system started out as a public 
service to farmers and has now expanded to 
include information from, for, and about 
several professions. Although not entirely 
free now, there are no sign-up or monthly 
charges. Since it was designed to serve the 
rural community, the service works with an 
800 number rather than using Telenet, 
Usenet, or other services which usually 
involve toll-charges once you leave urban 
areas. It has approximately 4000 programs 
available for downloading and offers time 
credits to those that upload farm-oriented 
programs. Special interest group 
conferences range from computer oriented 
topics, to law, to dairy farming. 

Online data for farmers and rancliers .,. . 

A6iET O 

$50 annual membership (including monthly 
newsletter); charges based on usage (average 
$25-$35/hr); AGNET, University of Nebraska at 
Lincoln, Lincoln, NB 68583-0713; 402/472-1892. 

SHARON RUFENER: AGNET is to farmers 
what the Dow Jones News/Retrieval (p. 142) 
database is to investors, and more. It 
provides daily quotes on commodities and 
futures contracts, and you can have them 
chart selected price information for you if 
you wish. Also available on their database 
are USDA reports, trade information, and 
news releases. They have a library of online 
programs available for members to use for 
financial and production management 

AGNET also offers online conferences around 
general and specific topics and electronic 
mail. Talk to participants who share your 
interest in soybeans or llama breeding; send 
messages back and forth to individuals, 
groups, or everyone. Wish someone happy 
birthday, or start a political movement. 

Two bi-monthly agricultural magazines . . . 

Farm Computer News; $20/yr (6 issues); 
Meredith Corp., RO. Box 10231, Des Moines, lA 
50336; 800/247-2504 or, in lA, 515/284-2349. 

$8.50/yr (6 issues); AgAccess, 615 Merchant St. 
Vacaville, CA 95688; 707/448-8287. 

SHARON RUFENER: Articles in Farm 
Computer News are aimed at the farmer with 
a microcomputer and cover hardware, 
software, and various types of farming 
applications. It also includes industry news, 
first- person interviews with computerized 
farmers, and lots of software ads, making 
this magazine a good marketplace forum for 

The AgAccess magazine/catalog features 
reviews of books and software for 
horticulturalists and farmers along with 
listings of related computer resources and 
services. The publication is an adjunct of a 
mail-order business, so you can buy many 
of the things mentioned from them. 


Heavy duty construction tool . 

Version 4.0; IBM PC/XT compatibles; 192K 
e TRS-80 Models III and 4; 48K; modem and 5MB 
hard disk recommended; copy-protected? NO; 
$5995; Small System Design, Inc., 1120 Oakdale 
Place, Boulder, CO 80302; 303/442-9454. 

JOE TROISE: What's this? More than $5900 
for software? 

Well, as the tired old adage goes, you get 
what you pay for, and what you're getting is a 
package that can control just about every 
facet of the construction business. 

I have used the CONSTRUCTION 
MANAGEMENT package for a year It was put 
together in conjunction with builders, and the 
software reflects its "on-the-job" origins, 
being developed in part by people who know 
how to swing a hammer 

The system is divided into three major 
components— job control programs, payroll 
programs, and accounting programs— which 
work together to keep track of your business, 
from comparing bids with actual costs to 
handling your checking accounts. The net 
effect of all this interconnection is that every 
cost you incur, every penny you spend, is 
accounted for and incorporated into records 
and reports that not only store the data but 

Total Bid (or Job 

Construction Cost Estimate? 
DAY 9 May 1904 Paqe 1 






































~~~— ir*"'^~~~~~-~- 










11. Ml 













HaterialE Labor Base Sub Equip 

69,514.76 38,072.50 895.85 76,549.46 

0.00 185,032.5^ 

logically interpret it for you . This gives you an 
accurate assessment of your business's 
financial health. By making one entry into the 
payroll program, you print a check for an 
employee, calculate all the deductions, 
compute the tax records, create accounting 
records, add the payroll costs to the 
appropriate jobs, and update your billing file. 

Included is a word processor (LAZYWRITER, 
which is a good one). Upcoming additions to 
the package include critical path scheduling 
and a materials take-off function, both of 
which are tasks generally found only in very 
expensive systems. 

This package is a bit intimidating, but it 
comes with excellent documentation. The 
writers assume that you know how to run a 
computer, that you know accounting, and that 
you can competently provide the large 
amount of cost information that you must 
tediously enter (but just once) from whatever 
bid books or life experience you have. So plan 
to spend a few days plugging that information 

True, you will have spent upwards of $10,000 
by the time you buy all you need in software 
and hardware. But this package is not merely 
an "aid" to your business. It literally runs the 
whole show, with you in the director's chair 
Make damn sure you're ready for that. If you 
are, no building package I am aware of even 
comes close in terms of price, power, and 

When "architractor" Tom Lyon built a house for 
himself, he estimated the retail costs as if he 
were his own client, using the CONSTRUCTION 
MANAGEMENT programs. This spreadsheet 
section covers expenses; on other jobs similar 
spreadsheets help him put together bids. 

Software for real estate offices . 
Version 3.14; $395 (street price $275). 

Version 2.0; $395. 


Version 2.0; $245. 

for all: IBM PC/XT/AT and compatibles ® Apple II 
family; Apple III (in emulation mode; not 
available for REAL ESTATE TOOL KIT); 2 disk 
drives; copy-protected? YES; Yardi Systems, 3324 
State St., Suite 0, Santa Barbara, CA 93105; 

DICK YORK: You can computerize your real 
estate office for a modest investment in both 
cost and learning. Yardi Systems' three 
related packages have similar screens and 

Before committing our office to a 
computerized property management system 
a few months ago, I looked at about ten 
different systems. Yardi's looked too good to 
be true— it claimed to do too many things 
too cheaply— so I called them up. Al Yardi, 
the author, answered the phone and my 
questions were answered. Al is a property 
manager who wrote this program to fill his 
own needs. I like applications that are user- 
written— professional programmers usually 
have no idea what users really need. 

Yardi Systems would not be adequate for a 
large professional property management 
company, but is more than ample for a 
smaller company or individual owner. It 
expands easily and can accommodate as 
many accounts as you wish. It writes 
checks, including recurring payables. It will 
produce a customized message on tenant 
statements. We use it to track payments on 
notes, mortgages, and land leases as well. 
Yardi didn't design it for this, but the system 
is flexible enough to alter for your own 

There are "advanced" and "deluxe" models 
of PROPERTY MANAGEMENT available. Our 
office upgraded to the "advanced" version, 
and we would not go back to the "regular" 
strength version, nor would we recommend 
it, now that the better version is here. 
"Advanced" includes Tenant History (a 
must), General Ledger, and a sort function 
for 1099s, including the ability to interface 
with word processing. This system was 
already a winner— now it's an Olympic Gold. 

accounting package, plus salespersons' 
individual histories and escrow control. 
Control over the office and, more 
importantly, the salespeople, is at your 

The TOOL KIT is the rest of what a real 
estate office needs: Investment Analysis, Buy 
vs. Rent, Tax Analysis, etc. Easy to use, fast 
to learn. The Buy vs. Rent program is the 
best I've seen so far. The bottom line "cost 
of owning vs. renting" is by far easier and 
clearer to understand than any other similar 
program to date. 


Software for builders . . . 

Smith and Omeara; Version I: Apple II + /lie; 64K; 
$800; Version II: Apple lle/llc; IBM PC and 
compatibles; 256K; $1250; Version III: MS-DOS 
(hard disk version); 256K; $2000; 2 disk drives; 
80-column printer; copy-protected? YES; 
Omware, 140 High St., Sebastopol, CA 95472; 

KIRBY ODAWA: There is an irony to tlie 
notion ttiat a software program for 
contractors might be perpetually "under 
construction." Yet THE MASTER BUILDER, 
like a summer cottage that grows with the 
family, has expanded from a simple 
bookkeeping package into a comprehensive, 
integrated accounting system. The program 
evolved through the authors' willingness to 
accomodate the requirements of contractors 
from a wide variety of building professions. 
If you're having difficulty finding a system 
that is flexible enough to manage your 
business, this program may be the tool you 

THE MASTER BUILDER provides a complete 
financial management system. It will 
maintain and balance your books, produce 
job estimates, track job costs, generate 
financial statements, track your payables and 
receivables, and handle the payroll. 

It is available in three progressively capable 
versions, offering different levels of detail 
and sophistication to builders, from the 
handyman to the corporation. For example. 
Version I tracks balances on up to 40 
accounts receivable, while Version III 
provides for the aging and retention of up to 
500 accounts. 

Just as a customized home is often strikingly 
interesting, so MASTER BUILDER is unique 
in a number of ways. For example, you may 
simply record your transactions as checks or 
deposits (in single-entry form), and MASTER 
BUILDER will automatically create records in 
double entry format. The program checks 
your math on account spreads, insuring that 
your books will always be balanced. The 
payroll module is certified, and will account 
for piece-work in addition to salary and 
hourly rates. A report generator gives you 
the ability to customize your payroll reports, 
invoices, and statements, increasing your 
control over the reports that represent your 

There is a demo package, a "crippled" 
version of the real thing, available for 
$35.00, so you can try it on to see if it fits 
before you buy. 

Real estate analysis . . . 


Wayne Pratt; most MS-DOS machines; 128K » 
Apple ll+/lle/llc; 48K; copy-protected? NO; Pratt 
Softvitare, 822 North Sheppard, Kennewick, WA 
99336; 509/783-5653; Modules available: Volume 
LAND ANALYSIS, $150; Volume 4: LEASE/ 
BUSINESS VALUATIONS, $100; Demo Disk (Vols. 
1-5), $10. 

ANALYSIS programs take the tedium out of 
financial projections. They are quicker and 
more accurate than manual methods, and 
you can get the results on one page. 

program, unlike many others, will give you 
the results even if they are negative— a 
useful feature for examining the situation and 
seeing what needs to change. 

Pratt's programs come in modules that can 
be purchased separately. I use the 
It's the easiest and best way to calculate 
discounted values or yields on a wrap. 

Software for salespeople . . . 


Version 2.21; IBM PC/XT/AT and compatibles; 
128K ® CP/M 80; 64K; 2nd disk drive; copy- 
protected? NO; $695; Scientific Marketing, Inc. 
3303 Harbor Blvd., Suite G-9, Costa Mesa, CA 
92626; 714/957-0225. 

database program for tracking sales leads, 
prospects, and customers; a sophisticated 
and comprehensive tool for managing the 
sales process. 

In one way, it behaves like an accounting 
package — each step toward the sale is 
recorded in an audit trail. You can look back 
and see what it took to sell a given 
customer— a big help in setting up sales 
projections based on reality instead of 
guesswork. In another way, it acts like a 
sales manager, forcing the salespeople to 
learn and follow all the critical steps of the 
sales process. 

Want to automate the process of 
telemarketing? MARKETFAX will 
automatically dial your leads from a call-date 
list, and the appropriate "script" will appear 
on the screen, alongside of their vital 
statistics. When you get a promising 

response, you can add it, along with your 
notes, to your prospects list while you are 
on the phone. 

Form letters get generated automatically at 
all the appropriate times. Eighty-three 
prototypes are included for your 
convenience, and they can be modified to 
suit your general needs or to make them 
more specific to a given client. You can use 
your word processor to make original forms, 
letters, and documents to incorporate into 
your MARKETFAX system. 

MARKETFAX files are written in standard 
ASCII (straight text) format, and can be 
copied into other software packages, such 
as a relational database or accounting 

I reviewed Version 2.2. A speedier and more 
sophisticated version is due to appear in the 
Summer of 1985, as is a multi-user system. 

The program is menu-driven. Novice users 
should have no trouble using it. Warning: the 
program will be useless to those who lack 
the time or the discipline to enter data on a 
regular and timely basis. The reward for the 
effort is that added sales could easily pay for 
both the computer and the program. 

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MARKETFAX can create a log of all transactions 
between tlie sales department and prospects. 
Just as an accounting system captures an audit 
trail of financial transactions, MARKETFAX 
records this "communications audit trail. " 




Rik Jadrnicek, Domain Editor 

RIK JADRNICEK: Stick around if you like to doodle, draw 
cartoons, illustrate books, draw block diagranns or flowcharts, 
do space planning, develop advertising copy, design circuit 
boards, design buildings, or create any other casual or 
professional drawings. In this section you'll discover 
microcomputer software and hardware useful for graphic art, 
drafting, and design. Computer-aided design (CAD) is swiftly 
coming of age on microcomputers ... at last, you really can 
draw with equipment that's reasonably priced. 

Why are graphics programs becoming such an important part 
of a business software library? Ever catch yourself reading a 
magazine backwards? I do, and I suspect I'm in the majority. 
Perhaps it's simply the more natural, quicker path to the 
"bottom line" in this age of information overdose. I look at the 
pictures first, read the captions, look at any charts I find, and 
then if I'm still interested I read the text. It's the same with 
business reports. But before microcomputer graphics programs 
were available, a business had to hire an artist to depict the 
bottom line in full color. Today, bar charts and line graphs pop 
out at the push of a button. 

Like a good word processor, a good graphics processor will 
soon be a mainstay of your software library. Microcomputers 
have placed the masterful control of numbers and text at our 
fingertips, and now they can give us that same degree of 
control over pictures. 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: Word processors and spreadsheets 
were a giant step up from typewriters and adding machines, as 
typewriters and adding machines were a giant step up from 
handwriting. But picture processing has never had a 
mechanical middle-step equivalent to a typewriter or adding 
machine. With picture processing, you leap straight from pen 
on paper into the magical world of microcomputing: brush and 
canvas with a brain. In picture processing, just as in word 
processing or spreadsheet analysis, you can cut, copy, move, 
erase, and save all or pieces of your creation to be used again 
in a variety of forms. But you can also shade, texture, expand, 
contract, zoom in to toy with what was once just a speck on 
the screen; draw a straight line without a ruler; vary the size of 
your pencil, pen, or brush; paint with a palette of colors—and 
change anything in the blink of an eye. 

RIK JADRNICEK: Drawing software falls neatly into three 
categories: painting (for artists), two-dimensional drawing (for 
architects, engineers, space planners and drafters) and tliree- 
dimensionai solids modeling. You'll find all three in this 
section, in that order. 

STEWART BRAND: Every month personal computers have 
more memory and more storage at less cost. All programs 
benefit to some degree, but the ones that gain the most are 
the graphic programs, because it's taking them over the 
barrier between impossible and possible. And once possible, 
these programs are going to take off, I believe. Personal 
computer users are biased toward graphics, feel rewarded by 
them, and reward them right back with enthusiastic market 

As a result, stuff in the Drawing section is probably neck- 
and-neck with Managing (the integrated packages) as one of 
the fastest-moving nags in the software horserace. Our 
coverage, necessarily, lags behind. Fortunately, Rik 
Jadrnicek covers the cutting edge of the field professionally, 
so he is able to report in detail on microcomputer graphic 
capabilities that may seem on the other side of the 
impossible barrier to many of us now but are rapidly 
coming within financial reach as we speak. 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: Rik waited, watched, impatiently, 
yearly, for microcomputer graphics. Bought one of the first 
Apples and VISICALC for the analytical capabilities (a 
house designer and builder, he was immersed in the vagaries 
of California's real estate market), but mostly because he 
could create charts. He quickly discovered two things: 
analysis that formerly took hours happened in five minutes 
on the Apple; and he had a knack for fiddling with programs 
and sharing his enthusiasm. A true entrepreneur, he turned 
this sideline into a business, giving seminars on spreadsheet 
modeling, reviewing software for magazines, putting 
together systems for small businesses. Meanwhile, he kept 

Rik Jadrnicek and family. 

searching the marketplace for graphics packages he could 
use to draw architectural plans, to paint. About a year and a 
half ago it all clicked together— sophisticated drawing 
software landed on microcomputers. And Rik was ready. His 
clients are now artists, architects and designers. Is he 
content? Nope. Now he's tapping his feet waiting for 
software that lets him play with movies on the monitor— fully 
three-dimensional animated pictures of the world moved 
onscreen from a camera, created with the microcomputer, or 
both— an altered reality. I think he'd even like to carry this bit 
of magic in his briefcase. Who knows? Maybe he'll review it 
in the next Catalog. 

STEWART BRAND: Humans drew before they wrote. For 
much of our brain, I suspect, drawing /s thinking. It may be 
that computers will be releasing that brainpower in the next 
few years, as we learn to express ourselves graphically as 
easily as we use the car or telephone. I don't know that we'll 
get back to the exquisite artistry of the beasts drawn on the 
walls of the Lascaux Caves, but I wouldn't rule it out either 





RIK JADRNICEK: Whether you're shopping around or already 
own a computer you can use for painting, graphic design, 
drafting, or business graphics, understanding the tools that 
make computer graphics possible can help you comprehend 
the possibilities and potential of computer graphics software. 
In addition to evaluating the usefulness of a software program 
itself, look at how much attention the publisher is paying to 
your hardware needs, as well. If a program runs on a wide 
variety of computers and supports many boards, plotters, 
printers, and input devices, you'll have a wider choice (quality 
and price) of hardware tools. Also, if you want to share data 
with other people, choose a program that runs on the same 
type of computer (so far, you can't trade picture files between 
a Macintosh and an IBM PC, for example). 

In a nutshell, you begin to draw using a graphic input device 
and/or the computer keyboard much as you would a brush or 
pencil. The software provides a palette of colors and brush 
types, T-square, triangle, compass, grid, framework, and a 
variety of other drawing tools. A graphics card (also called 
graphics board, graphics processor, and frame buffer) 
translates your work into an image on a monochrome or color 
graphics monitor. The computer saves your creation in a file on 
a floppy or hard disk from which you retrieve and edit it later. 
(We recommend a hard disk for professionals — pictures use up 
a lot of storage space.) As for output, drawings can be printed, 
plotted, photographed, or translated into video images. 

The drawing instruments . . . 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: So how do you draw on a computer 
monitor? Although it's possible, using a gadget called a light 
pen, to actually draw right on the surface of the monitor, we 
don't recommend it— too imprecise and arm-wearying. Nor do 
we recommend joysticks— they're better for games. Instead, 
here are our favorite ways of putting drawings into a computer: 

Keyboard— Least expensive (you need one anyway) and least 
desirable for artists and drafters, but a possible choice for 
engineers who want to type in exact data points, relative 
distances, and commands. Artists would use the cursor arrow 
keys, drawing lines as the cursor travels across the screen, 
then function keys to fill in areas with colors or patterns. 

Mouse— Roll the little critter around and the cursor follows, 
drawing as it goes; click the mouse button(s) to enter 
commands. Mice are particularly good for finding and selecting 
commands (fill this area with color, cut and paste, etc.), take 
little desk space, are reasonably priced ($199 and up), and can 
often be used with other software applications (word 
processing, spreadsheets, etc.). Recommended for business 
graphics, drawing, and sketching— not for drafting since they 
give only relative X, Y coordinates. 

Digitizing Tablets— As close as you can get to pencil and 
paper. Using a stylus (pencil-like) or puck (mouse-like with 
cross-hairs), you "draw" on the tablet; and as you draw, the 
cursor draws on the screen with a precision that bears a direct 
relation to the price you pay for the tablet. The KOALAPAD (p. 
131) is fun for sketching and pointing, but not recommended 
for professional artists. Higher priced ($500 and up) tablets 

have a higher resolution than mice, are more precise and have 
absolute X, Y coordinates. Digitizing tablets are the best and 
most expensive choice for artists and the only reasonable 
choice for drafters. 

The best buy by far is the Hitachi 11-by-11-inch Tiger Tablet, 
which includes its own power supply and stylus ($995; Hitachi 
America, Ltd., 950 Benicia Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94086; 

Image Digitizers- Now here's a bit of magic. With these 
devices, you can transport a photograph or drawing (or text for 
that matter) or video image into your computer and have it 
show up on the monitor. And you can actually retouch or 
completely alter the photograph, create a parts library, or put a 
picture into a document. There are two kinds of image 
digitizers: optical scanners and video digitizers. 

Optical scanners range from the inexpensive ($229) 
Thunderscan, a cartridge that fits into an Apple ImageWriter 
printer and reproduces (on a Macintosh screen) any picture flat 
enough to roll through the printer; to the more expensive 
($3950) Datacopy Model 700, a "flat-bed" scanner that looks 
like a copy machine in miniature and lets you move pictures 
from paper (8V2" x 11") to your IBM PC screen and insert them 
into documents. Using CADCAMERA (p. 135), the Datacopy 
700 can convert drawings into images that can be edited with 
AUTOCAD (p. 135)— possibly useful for building a parts library. 

Video digitizers work with video cameras. Point the camera, 
push a button, and an image shows up on a computer 
monitor— or use an image stored on videotape. They work in 
combination with special software to translate video signals 
into digital images. For the IBM PC and compatibles, we 
recommend the PC Eye board; for the Macintosh, MACVISION. 

You won't get resolution good enough for high-quality 
publication with any of these digitizers, and they're not fast, 
but they're good enough for newsletters, memos, and mock- 

Thunderscan: Andy Hertzfeld. Version 1.3. Not copy-protected. $229; street 
price $183. Macintosii. Requires ImageWriter printer. Thunderware, Inc., 21 
Orinda Way, Orinda, CA 94563; 415/254-6581. 

Datacopy Model 700: Version 1.2. $3950 (includes flat-tied scanner, board, and 
software). IBM PC/XT/AT. Requires 640K, Hercules Graphics Card; hard disk 
recommended. Output to QMS and Hewlett-Packard laser printers, Epson dot 
matrix printers. Datacopy Corporation, 1215 Terra Bella Ave., Mountain View, 
CA 94043; 800/556-1234 ext. 96 or, in CA, 800/441-2345 ext. 96. 

MACVISION: Bill Atkinson. Version 1.1 Not copy-protected. $400; street price 
$226. Macintosh. Requires video input source. Koala Technologies, 2065 
Junction Ave., San Jose, CA 95131; 800/562-2327. 

PC Eye and Imagit image editor: $750-$2000; IBM PC/XT/AT/compatibles. 
Requires video input source. Chorus Data Systems, Inc., 6 Continental Blvd., 
P.O. Box 370, Merrimack, NH 03054; 800/624-6787. 

The palette and the canvas . 

Unless your computer is a closed box, you can choose the 
resolution and number of colors you want to work with. 
Generally, the higher the resolution and the more colors, the 
higher the price of both graphics cards and monitors— the 
two work in combination. They must v/ork in combination. You 
have to carefully match band width and horizontal scan rates of 
cards and monitors or, at best, you'll waste money; at worst, 


you'll fry your monitor. You don't have to know what the words 
mean, just read the specs for both and be sure the numbers 

The ideal combination for professionals is a system that gives 
them high resolution— 600 by 400 pixels (picture elements)— 
minimum, more than 16 colors onscreen at once and flicker- 
free viewing (the board must produce a "non-interlaced 
signal"). Board and monitor combinations that do this are now 
available and expensive— too new and expensive so far to have 
much software support. 

Meanwhile, here are some alternatives: The Hercules graphics 
board ($499, street price $319; Hercules Computer 
Technology, Inc., 2550 Ninth St., Berkeley, CA 94710, 
800/532-0600) gives you high resolution (720 x 348) 
monochrome graphics (which may be fine if you're doing line 
drawings), and it's very easy to install. The Tecmar Graphics 
Master board provides 600 x 480 resolution, 16 onscreen 
colors, and an interlaced signal ($695, street price $495; 
Tecmar, Inc., 6225 Cochran Road, Solon, OH 44139; 
216/349-1009). Installing it is not for the faint-hearted, but 
since it emulates standard IBM color graphics it can be used by 
a wide variety of software programs. To reduce flicker, you can 
buy a special long-persistence phosphor monitor 
($695-$1500). The IBM Enhanced Graphics Adapter is a good, 
well-supported card with 640 x 200 resolution and 16 onscreen 
colors; 640 x 350 monochrome ($524). Also, see the 
Hardware section (pp. 14 to 21) for more information on 
graphics cards and monitors. 

The artist's copy machine . . . 

You have four choices: print drawings with dot matrix, ink jet 
or laser printers; plot them with plotters; photograph the 
screen; or transfer them to videotape. 

We recommend pen plotters for drafters this year. Maybe by 
next year the price of the new electrostatic plotters (like having 
your own blueprint machine) will drop. The best pen plotter 
value is the Calcomp 1043, an "E" size plotter with 8 pens for 
$8495, plus $225/quarter for the warranty; a similar plotter 
(also good) from Hewlett-Packard costs nearly twice that. 
Another good buy is the Houston Instruments DMP 52 MP 14- 
pen plotter for $5995— smaller paper, more colors. A plotter's 
price depends on three factors: the maximum paper size it can 
handle, the number of pens (and therefore, colors), and its 
speed. Speed and paper size will be most important to drafters. 

Calcomp, 2411 West La Palma Ave., Anaheim, CA 92801; 714/821-2857 • 
Houston Instruments, P.O. Box 15720, Austin, TX 78761; 312/835-0900 • 
Hewlett-Packard Marketing Communications, 16399 W. Bernardo Drive, San 
Diego, CA 92127, 619/487-4100. 

If you're using a computer for rough layouts and sketches you 
might be satisfied with black and white images from 
inexpensive dot matrix or ink jet printers. Laser printers are 
more expensive and print in a higher resolution. Apple's 
LaserWriter (p. 21) is the best— prints both graphics and text 
in a resolution (300 dots per inch) that begins to approach 
typeset-like print quality (2500 dots per inch) at a fraction of 
the price. (See p. 126 for a sample.) 

If you want to print business graphics in color, we recommend 
color printers rather than plotters (lower price for comparable 
quality): the Diablo C-150 ink jet ($1295; street price $980; 
Xerox, 910 Page Ave., Fremont, CA 94537; 415/498-7769) 

requires clay-coated paper, but it's the best (pictures on p. 130 
and 132); or the Epson JX80 ($895, street price $550; Epson, 
2780 Lomita Blvd., Torrance, CA 90505; 213/539-9140)— 
lower quality color, but (unlike the Diablo) it can be used for 
correspondence-quality text and it works with standard fan-fold 
computer paper. Plotters are better, however, for line drawings, 
flow diagrams, and organizational charts (see picture p. 129). 

Often the best method of getting a drawing out of a computer 
is to photograph the screen— perfect for business graphics 
slideshows, and really the best option for artists or anyone 
wanting publication-quality images. To photograph the screen, 
use any camera on a tripod (you need careful lighting to avoid 
glare and a long exposure time to avoid getting bars of light 
across the image). Or try the "Screen Shooter," a $170 
Polaroid camera with hood and 35mm adapter (NPC Photo 
Division, Newton Plastics, 1238 Chestnut St., Upper Newton 
Falls, MA, 02164; 617/969-3487) or the Kodak Instagraphic 
CRT Slide Imager ($379; Eastman Kodak Company, Dept. 
4121, Rochester, NY 14650; 800/445-6325) which comes with 
hoods ($40-$50 each) that fit various sized screens and a 
gizmo that makes instant slides or prints (included in camera 
price). For more money, you can use various hardware devices 
such as the Polaroid Palette. The Palette gives you pictures 
sharper than your screen with some software (GRAPHWRITER, 
p. 129). 

Palette: $1800; street price $1299 (includes 35mm film unit, slide processor, 
cables, software); IBM PC/XT/AT; DEC Rainbow/Pro; Apple lie, II + ; Polaroid 
Industrial Marketing, 784 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02139; 

Video output— that is, putting computer images onto videotape 
—isn't difficult, but don't expect broadcast quality. You need a 
"video out" port on your computer (missing, unfortunately 
from the Macintosh) so you can connect a VCR to it using an 
RCA jack. The VCR records the image (a series of computer 
drawings, bar charts, animation sequence, etc.) which can 
then be played back on a TV set. 

>■ ^^^ 



After MACmiON autlior Bill Atkinson pointed the video camera at himself and 
created a digitized self-portrait, Jay Kinney used his Macintosh and MACPAINT 
to create an alien double. He selected Bill's left eye on the digitized photo, 
then replicated it on his forehead, retouching with FATBITS. To finish the 
transformation, he used the SPRAYCAN to add a beard. 


aim f f f f if f if Mi p !PwMlmMm§ 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: One of the most exciting 
developments in drawing software has been tools that let you 
combine and print combinations of graphics and text. With 
these tools, you can bypass traditional costly typesetting and 
layout charges and create newsletters, proposals, price lists, 
brochures— or simply use them to quickly create mock-ups. 

ROBERT MORGAN: Programs that promise easy electronic 
publishing are still "early" programs . . . analogous to the first 
steam engines. Just as in those early races between steam 
engines and horse drawn carriages sometimes the result was a 
"dead heat," sometimes the horses won, sometimes the 
steam engine won, and sometimes the steam engine blew 
up— so it is with these programs. In many ways they still 
simply mimic what you'd do by hand. Until the programs 
include "electronic" features like automatically wrapping text 
around pictures and from column to column or page to page, 
they won't win any speed contests. 

If you're a writer, ask yourself if you really want to take on the 
extra work required to control the whole publishing process 
(writing, editing, layout, typesetting). Designing a page and 
selecting fonts, styles, and sizes to produce a professional 
result is a craft. If you're a graphic artist, you'll find these 
programs handy but not much faster than doing the same thing 
by hand. However, if you had a race today between a modern 
train and a horse-drawn buggy, it would be no contest. Given a 
little time, these programs will mature, I trust, until they truly 
automate the process to the point that they are the only way to 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: The bottom line for these programs is 
the quality of the output. On this page and the next, you can 
see for yourself how close to publication-quality you can get. 
The reviews on these two pages were created and "typeset" by 
Robert Morgan who picked three software packages: 
READYSETGO and MAGPUBUSHER for the Macintosh, and 
FONTRIX for the IBM PC family. READYSETGO and 
MACPUBLISHER were printed on Apple's LaserWriter, courtesy 
of Infomax Computers. 

Created using FOHTRIK on a 

I:OHpA£i and printed on an EPSOK Fn88 dot matrix printer 

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ibn rl-'- ft i '■ h I arid tfUy Lunipe.uDiinb.- riji-.- cA-k- la" 

color qraphics adapter or compatible s version 1.5; 
Hot copu-protectsd; I95i ftppla II family and III 
(sniulatioyi inoda)i 48Kj Data iTarisforn^S" 616 teshincitori 
Straot^ Oenysfrco 89283; 383/832-1501 

ROBERT MORGAN: It is hard to categorize 
FONTRIX. It has soMe features of a 
painting program, but not enough. It 
ha:3 some of the features of a word 
processing pro^'^ram. Diif. ctoesii't. corae 
close. You canprodoce some of the same 
results as KE/IDYSETGO (pi26). but not 
nearlv as auicRlv or easiiv. Let's fust 
call it a "Font Producer Aid Then Some " 

You can go directly into the Graphic 

Writer and type the test in using 
various fonts. Or yoo can create the 
test in WORDST/tR (p.55) or another word 
processor, then let FONTRIX translate it 
into a graphic file, enhance it with the 
drawing tools osln^ keyboard or moose, 
and finally print it. Fonts can be 
edited, italicized, bolded, squeezed 
together or created, as long as you do 
it beforehand, 


FONTRIX is quite versatile, but also 
quite tedious. To convert one page of 
WORDSTAR text to a FONTRIX graphic file 
takes 22 minutes if you are working with 
rioppies. Make one'inistake that, can't 
be fixed cosffletically, and you start all 
over. If you use a R.4Ii disk or have a 
hard disk you can cut that time down to 
6 Minutes. 'The graphic files created by 
FONTRIX are humongous! You need IBOK 
for one 8-1/2 x 11 inch sheet. Here 
again, a hard disk is desirable. 
/llthough the program comes with iO fonts 
and there are loO "more available in 
packs of 10 for $25 each, you can NOT 
alter the SIZE of the font When you 
move between the Graph Writer and the 
Graph Printer utilities, FONTRIX dumps 
all the selected fonts out of memory and 
forgets all the default settings for " 
disk drive, etc. Give me a break! 




1^ B 


This section was created using READYSETGO and printed on the LASERWRITER: 

Versatile and slick.». 

Restrictive but able... 

Version 1.0. Copy-protected. $125; 
street price $89. Macintosh (512K). 
Manhattan Graphics Corp. 163 
Varick Street. NY, NY 10013; 


Robert Morgan 

Version 1.25. Copy-protected. $99; 
street price $78. Macintosh (128K). 
Boston Software Publishers Inc., 19 
Ledge Hill Road, Boston, MA 
02132: 617/327-5775 

Some folks label these two programs "Electronic Publishers." Both MACPUBLISHER and READYSETGO let 
you do typesetting and layout... arrange and rearrange text and graphics on a dummy page. Both give a "bird's 
eye view" of the layout. Both can be used with the new Apple LASERWRITER to produce "near typeset quality" 
output. Both let you enter text directly or import text from MACWRITE (p.54). Both let you capture graphics from 
MACPAINT (p. 127) via the Clipboard. Both help bridge the gap between word processors like MACWRITE (that 
don't allow columns of text or graphics beside text) and drawing programs like MACPAINT (that lack basic text 
editing features when laying out text). Here are some of the differences between the two... 


1. Infinite column width sizing. 

2. Vertical bars and framing in 4 
shades of gray. 

3. Full justification displayed on 

4. Able to change Font, Size, or 
Style of each individual character in 
a line. 

5. Pictures taken from Clipboard 
can be resized and reshaped at 

6. No editing allowed on Show 

Why not use ReadySetGo 
insteaxj of Mac Publisher? 

I will if you loan me 


1. Limited to 4 preset column 

2. No vertical bars nor framing. 

3. Full justification is not shown on 

4. When changing Font, Size, or 
Style, the whole line must be 

5. A portion of the Clipboard can be 
"photographed" and "glued down," 
but not resized or reshaped. 

6. Easy editing and moving on 
Show Page. 

This portion was created using MA C PTTRT.TSHER and printed on a LASERWRITER: 

"So what program should you choose?" The choice may already be made for you if 
you have a 128K "thin" MACINTOSH. In that case, you would have to go with 
MACPUBLISHER. But if you have a "fat" MAC, you may have difficulty choosing. 
READYSETGO excels in layouts such as restaurant menus, brochures, and 
overhead transparencies. MACPUBLISHER excels in multipage newsletters, or any 
other layout requiring a lot of text entry and editing, regimented column widths, and 
items that you want to reuse in another issue. The finished results of READYSETGO 
looked the most professional, thanks to frames and vertical bars. I personally would 
like a program that combines the best features of both. I would also like to see new 
features like "dynamic, automatic carry-over of text from one page to another." I 
know, "picky, picky, picky." 

ad Publisher 


Painting in black and wliite . . . 

RIK JADRNICEK: Apple's Macintosh is a 
no muss, no fuss, pixel-based graphics 
computer. It does other things as well, 
of course, but it is in pixel-based 
graphics generation that the MAC really 
shines. In high-contrast black and 
white. MAC'S screen is small (nine 
inches diagonally), but its square pixels 
make the images seem sharp. 

Moving pictures in black and white 

4 File Edit Goodies Font FontSize Style 

Irresistible . . . 

Bundled with Macintosh computers. Apple 
Computer, 20525 Mariani Ave., Cupertino, CA 
95014; 800/538- 9696. 

LYN CELOTTI: MACPAINT has bit-by-bit 
control for detail (Fat Bits), shades, and 
tones. It's particularly good for graphic 
designers; for freehand, aesthetically 
pleasing drawings. 

example of the speed you can get out of a 
pixel-based drawing system that does not 
have to create a vector database or drive a 
24 X 35 inch plotter. Its purpose is to paint 
the screen and print the screen image and 
this it does very fast and very well. 

viewed as the "premier" paint program, it 
has its shortcomings. It lacks color support. 
There are limited printer options. The Grid is 
not adjustable. The Menu cannot be 
removed, so you have less than a full screen 
to draw on. And it would be nice if you could 
size, shape, and position Ovals and 
Rectangles before locking them into place. 

In addition, many of the color painting 
programs (p. 130) have features not 
included in MACPAINT: multi-stage Fat Bits 
and control over size and shape of the print- 
out as in PC PAINTBRUSH; an underlay 
paste like TELEPAINT offers; automatic text 
scrolling and a local Undo as in PC PAINT; a 
3-0 mode like DIGITAL PAINTBRUSH offers. 

I'd also like to have Tilt, Distort, Infinite 
Rotate, and Perspective without having to 
buy and invoke a desk accessory like 
CLICKART EFFECTS, and also the ability to 
move individual objects around on the Show 

Still, there are some unique things that only 
MACPAINT and the Macintosh offer: the 
Lasso function (for Cut/Paste of irregular 
objects in close proximity), sheer speed, 
square pixels, dual print modes (Final and 
Draft), and an environment that allows easy 
movement of pictures into other applications 



Scott Wiener. Copy-protected. $49.95. Macintosh; 
Lisa (emulation mode). Ann Arbor Softworks, 
308V2 S. State St., Ann Arbor, Ml 48104; 



MacroMind, Inc. Version 1.0. Copy-protected. 
$99.95. Macintosh. Hayden Software Co., 600 
Suffolk St., Lowell, MA 01853; 800/343-1218 or, 
in MA, 617/937-0200. 

DONNA COHEN: Animation traditionally has 
been a labor-intensive project requiring a 
large staff. Now anyone with a computer and 
one of these two animation programs has 
the ability to create and replay animations. 
ANIMATION TOOLKIT a moving "Etch-a- 
Sketch," is perfect for the kids; 
VIDEOWORKS, a more sophisticated 
program, takes some studying. 

Both programs abide by the rules of 
animation and are intuitive to use. You can 
copy cells in perfect registration, alter each 
cell, adjust the speed of playback, and a 
whole lot more. 

With ANIMATION TOOLKIT I created my first 
animation within 15 minutes, but the images 
were low resolution and looked a little 
clunky. With VIDEOWORKS, you can transfer 
(p. 123), or the samples provided on disk; 
create 256 different characters; have multi- 
plane animation, cell animation, or real time 
animation; add a sound track; and matte 
different objects. 

The first full-color comic produced on a 
Macintosh is Shatter ($15/yr (12 issues); 
First Comics, Inc., 1014 Davis St., Evanston, 
IL 60201; 312/864-5330). Set in a Blade- 
Rynner-//fe future, it's a cops-and-robbers 
story with dystopian overtones. The art is 
interesting although a little grainy 

-—George Mokray 

Making a good thing better: T/Maker Company's 
CLICKART EFFECTS provides four useful tools 
missing from MacPaint. When loaded as a desk 
accessory, CLICKART EFFECTS enables MacPaint 
images to be rotated degree-by-degree, slanted, 
distorted, and put Into perspective. ($49.95; 
T/Maker Company, 2115 Landings Dr, Mountain 
View, CA 94043; 415/962-0195) Q 

This MACPAINT drawing was created by 
cartoonist Jay Kinney, then printed on an Apple 
ImageWrlter printer. The little Icons In menus 
across the bottom and along the left side show 
some of the painting options available with 

4t File Edit Options IVindoius Dniiii Font Style EfK SfK ^ 

draining & horseg Cast 


Animation, the art of movement, is a new area for 
computer artists to discover The VIDEOWORKS 
pictures of a racing horse are sophisticated; the 
program complex. 

6 file Edit Boodtes forM fontSize Style 




WuUui^^^ mum 

"Gallery" on CHART on the Macintosh is a pull- 
down menu of 42 ready made chart formats. Enter 
your numbers, mouse-select a chart type, and— 
blink— there It is. You can quickly try on the 
various types to see which makes your point best. 
The program also offers the ability to create your 
own formats and tailor them extensively It does 
not do curves, however. 

Quick, efficient visuals . . . 

Apple Macintosh; 128K; copy-protected? YES; 
$125; Microsoft Corporation, 10700 Norttiup Way, 
Bellevue, WA 98004; 206/828-8080. 

STEWART BRAND: I agree with Andrew 
Ruegelman, founding editor of Macworld, 
that the Macintosh and software lil<e CHART 
are going to gradually change the way we 
communicate. Illustration such as graphs no 
longer requires specialists, any more than 
typing does. Andrew found himself arguing 
points in his review of CHART with sparkling 
little graphs, quickly conjured on CHART and 
as quickly printed in publishable form on the 
ImageWriter printer. 

Graphs are astonishingly efficient tools. They 
can convey broad understanding and great 
precision at the same time, of a variety of 
ideas at once, and in a tiny space. They help 
the brain meet numbers in the brain's 
terms— analog pictures rather than digital 
numbers; they tell quantity directly rather 
than through translation. 

On the 128K Mac, CHART is potent but slow. 
On the 51 2K Mac it is a lot faster. You can 

enter data directly or pull it from 
MICROSOFT MULTIPLAN (p. 70). The charts 
can be fine-tuned with MACPAINT (p. 127), 
and they can be blended with text via 
(p. 60) and telecommunicated. I particularly 
like some of the power available under the 
command "Analyze," which can take your 
chart and render a second overlay showing 
Average, Cumulative Sum, Difference, 
Growth, Percent, Statistics, or Trend. 

This program on this machine is an 

JOHN LEININGER: CHART is one of those 
programs which allow you to get basic 
things done with relative ease. It has the 
flexibility for you to become an expert user 
and create some very complex charts. You 
can even get to the point of tricking it into 
doing things that perhaps it was not 
designed to do. It's a good tool, and like all 
good tools you must learn how to use it 
properly and get to know its limitations. 

WOODY LISWOOD: CHART is also available 
for the IBM PC, however we prefer 
GRAPH WRITER (p. 129) in this world. 

Inexpensive charts and slideshows . . . 

Version 1.1. $99. Not copy-protected. IBM PC/XT/ 
AT/compatibles (256K). IBM color graphics card 
and compatibles. Output to Epson, IBM, Diablo, 
Okidata and NEC printers; Houston Instruments, 
Amdek, Hewlett-Packard and Sweet Pea plotters. 
Practicorp International, The Silk Mill, 44 Oak 
Street, Newton Upper Falls, MA 02164; 

WOODY LISWOOD: The best buy. 
PRACTIGRAPH produces a basic set of bar, 
line, pie, and text charts that can be 
photographed from the screen, printed or 
plotted. Most business graphics programs 
do that. A special PRACTIGRAPH feature, 
however, is the program's ability to create 
slideshows. You can link a series of graphs 
together to run in sequence. (You simply 
plug your personal computer into a wide- 
screen monitor for group presentations.) 
I've used this feature to illustrate the graphic 
capabilities of computers and had a great 
reaction from the audience. The program is 
not as complete or flexible as 
GRAPHWRITER (p. 129), but it's much less 
expensive and works just fine. 


Very expensive slide shows . . . 


PICTURE-IT: Version 1.1. Copy-protected. $600. 
IBM PC/compatibles (128K). Requires VideoShow 
150 hardware display driver ($3500; connects to 
any NTSC digital RGB monitor). Both from 
General Parametrics, 1505 Solano Ave., Berkeley, 
CA 94707; 415/524-3950. 

DONNA COHEN: You don't have to draw to 
use this software. The program includes 
more than 20 different formats and color 
styles you can select. Or you can design 
your own styles and color schemes, 
choosing from 1000 colors and 18 built-in 
type fonts. You can use PICTURE-IT without 
reading the manual. 

Fancy overhead transparencies . . . 

Version 1.11. $195; street price $139. IBM PC/XT/ 
AT/compatibles. Program disk is copy-protected, 
font disk isn't. Supports IBM color graphics card, 
Hercules card. Output to Apple Matrix, NEC PC 
8023A-C, Okidata 84 Step 2 dot matrix printers; 
IBM and Epson JX80 color printers. Business & 
Professional Software, Inc., 143 Binney Street, 
Cambridge, MA 02142; 617/491-3377. 

WOODY LISWOOD: Need overhead 
transparencies but don't have a digital 

PICTURE-IT doesn't feel very creative to 
draw on— the keyboard is the only input 
device— but it produces a high-quality 
product comparable to images produced on 
$100,000-and-up dedicated business graphic 
workstations— far superior to EXECUVISION 
(p. 129). Using a new display technology 
they call MacroVision, it increases the 
standard IBM PC resolution from 640 x 200 
pixels to 2048 x 484. MacroVision works 
through a device called the VideoShow, a 16- 
pound box with built-in disk drive. You don't 
need a computer for presentations, just the 
VideoShow box, a disk with images you've 
created, a monitor, projection screen, or TV 
set. The VideoShow lets you jump out of 
order to any part of your presentation, 
quickly cut to another image, do fancy 
dissolves, even control a pointer. No other 
business graphics system has worked out its 
video interface so well. 

plotter? Need to make transparencies with 
giant letters, but tired of press-type, hand 
lettering and "Orator" type faces? 
OVERHEAD EXPRESS contains multiple fonts 
and templates that will print on a variety of 
dot matrix printers. You fill in supplied 
templates or create your own slides using 
language which is somewhat difficult to learn 
and use. Once you've mastered it, though, 
you can create good-looking slides using the 
multitude of fonts and shadings that come 
with the program. 


Bar charts and linear regressions . . . 


Version 6.1. S375; street price S239; IBM PC/XT/ 
AT/compatibFes (256K). 


Version 5.1. $245; street price S179; IBM PC/XT/ 
AT/compatibies (256K). 


Version S.O, $345; iBM PC XT AT/compatibtes 

Aii three are copy-protected (liut Itey disk not 
required with hard disk) and support iBM coior 
graphics, Enhanced Graphics Adapter (8 coiors 
supported onscreen), and Professionai Graphics 
cards; Hercuies; Output to Epson, IBM, Prism, 
Olfidata, Tektronix, 11, Toshiba dot matrix 
printers; Hewlett-Packard ThinkJet and LaserJet 
printers; Hewlett-Packard. CalComp, Houston 
Instruments, Sweet Pea, Hitachi and most other 
plotters; Polaroid Palette and Matrix Recorders. 
Decision Resources, Inc., 25 Sylvan Rtt., South 
Westport, CT 06980; 203/222-1974. 

WOODY LISWOOD: All three of these 
graphics programs are menu driven, easy to 
use, and support a wide variety of printers 
and plotters. The latest versions include 
"solid fill" for crisper, plotted bar charts and 
new symbol fonts (cars, trucks, trains, oil 
wells, etc.) you can use instead of solid bars 
or lines to spice up plotted graphs, 

I've used CHART MASTER since my Apple 
computer days— and still use it. It has a 
wide variety of graphics: cluster bars, 
stacked bars, scatter diagrams, line charts, 
pie charts, and area charts, You can also do 
linear, exponential, logarithmic, power, and 
travelling average regressions within the line 
chart section, You can import print files 
(ASCII files) from other programs, and 
CHART MASTER has one unique feature I 
especially like: you can specify that each 
chart be contained within a plotted border. 
Makes for nicely defined graphics. Less 
expensive than GRAPHWRITER and more 
limited; more expensive than PRACTIGRAPH 
and does more. 

use SIGN MASTER when I want 
presentation graphics with words and 
numbers rather than bar and pie charts. 
With SIGN MASTER, you can read in a 
spreadsheet, reproduce parts of it, and make 
those parts bigger for overhead 
transparencies. You can have tables, rows, 
columns with or without boxes, box just 
what you want, use different type fonts for 
each box, and probably do whatever you 
desire in the way of text charts. 

With DIAGRAM MASTER, you can produce 
organizational, Gantt, and text charts. It is 
the easiest-to-use organizational chart 
function I've found. You simply respond to a 
series of prompts about what goes into each 
box on each levei — or grab, move, grow, 
shrink, and fill in objects selected from the 
drawing board. And the chart is created 
practically automatically, 

The best by far . . . 


Version 4.3. Basic $395; Extension $395, Combo 
5595. Copy-protected, input forms not copy- 
protected, IBM PC/MS-DOS families; ig2K RAM 
|25GK RAM with image recorder and printer 
plots); Color graphics adapter; Output to Epson, 
Okidata and IBM printers; Hewlett-Packard, IBM, 
Calcomp, and Mannesman Talley plotters; 
Graphic Communications, Inc., 20Q Fifth Avenue, 
Waltham, MA 02254, 617/890-8778. 

the best. It does (when you have both the 
basic and extended sets, or the combo} one 
to four pies; scatter plots with or without 
regression lines; bar and line combination 
charts; line, text, table, surface-line, range. 
Gantt, vertical, and horizontal column 
charts; organization diagrams; pie-bar 
combinations; segmented, clustered, 
double-stacked, grouped, and paired bars; 
and horizontal bars with inset labels. The 
only thing it doesn't do is 3-D bars and pies 

PETER KIRKWOOD: The program 
can read Data Interchange Files (DIP) from 
both DOS and Pascal. Its weak points are 
copy-protection that requires keeping a 
program disk in the floppy drive, storage 
requirements (the full set of programs 
requires 2 megabytes of disk storage), the 
preview display of graphs (of unacceptable 
quality) and its lack of any free-hand or 
sketch facility. 

For presentation graphics . . . 


IBM PC/XT. AT (256); copy- protected; S395 {street 
price $259); IBM color card and Enhanced 
Graptiics Adapter, Tecmar Graphics Master. Input: 
keyboard only. Output to Epson and IBM graphics 
dot matrix printers; Polaroid Palette: Lang 
Videoslide. With E Z Capture Plus option (S125); 
Output to most dot matrix printers; IBM color 
printer; Diablo Inkjet C-150 and other color 
printers: HP 7475A plotter. VCN. 238 Main SL, 
Camtiridge, MA 02142; 617497-4000. 

the world of basic business graphics with a 
fantastic set of tools for preparing presenta- 
tion graphics. You can freely edit the images 
you create and include them in slideshows. 
You can cut small sections out of an image, 
save them in a library on disk and then paste 
them into other images you create later. 

The creators of EXECUVISION sell libraries 
of graphic shapes you can use, including 
decorative borders, initials and decorative 
designs, faces and figures, and maps and 
international symbols. 

The documentation is very thorough and 
extensively illustrated (even showing the IBM 
and its keyboard every step of the way). Let 
the pictures speak for themselves . . . 

documentation is overwhelming and the 
program's interna! menu structure is enough 
to bring an unsuspecting person to his 
knees, However, after you have created one 
graph, you appreciate the multitude of 
menus within menus within menus as well 
as the extreme variation you can give your 
plots. I have recommended the program to a 
number of businesses and they have all 
fallen in love with it. 

If you need high quality presentation 
graphics on selected plotters and graphics 
printers, GRAPHWRITER is superb. 

Job Evaluation 

Normal Approach 

f\pp} Is^otfon 




1 £ki]U 

lorhlnj^ Condltlm 

An 6xampie of the High-quality coior 
presentations posslijie using GRAPHWRITER and 
a coior plotter. Graptis such as Itiis used to 
require ttie skilis of a grapiiic artist. 

This graph tiidn 't pop up automaticaily from data, 
it's entirely it and -drawn, with numbers typed 
onscreen, using EXECUVISION. With the £ Z 
Capture Pius option. EXECUVISION can use data 
imported from 1-2-3 (p. 68), SYMPHONY (p 111), 
FRAMEWORK (p. 110), or any screen in 320 x 200 


Painting witii Coior 

Bobert Morgan created this cartoon with PC 
PAINTBRUSH, using an IBM PC with a Tecmar 
Graphics Master card (16 onscreen colors, 649 x 
400 resolution}, then printed it with a Diabio 
C-150 color inlciet printer (p. 124). PC 
PAINTBRUSH is the most flexibie of the three PC 
painting programs, it has a subprogram caiied 
FRIEZE that, among other things, allows control 
of the size and shape of drawings at print time, 
ttte easiest pattern editing, and some nifty 
features that let ^ou titt, grow, and shrinit 

Three New Painting Programs O 

RIK JADRNICEK: Painting software is 
often called "pixei-based" software 
because the images are really made of 
hundreds of little dots of light — pixeis, 
or picture elements. With painting 
software you can control each pixel on 
a graphics monitor. Manipulating 
groups of pixels "paints" an image on 
the graphics monitor, and manipulating 
groups of pixels creates animation over 
time. Depending on the quality of the 
software and hardware you are using, 
you may only be able to turn the pixel 
on or off, or you may be able to choose 
a color for the pixels from a palette of 
more than 16 million colors. 

programs (black-and-white or color) 
give you the same basic tools: brush/ 
pen sizes and shapes, special effects 
(like mirroring), erasers, undo, 
windows for cutting and pasting, and a 
variety of colors, patterns and 
shapes — all selected by moving the 
cursor to an icon. 

ROBERT MORGAN: We've selected 
three IBM PC painting programs, PC 
TELEPAINT All three are colorful, fun 
and quite good, but compared to 
MACPAINT (p. 127), they seem crude. 

TELEPAIHl the newest of the three, is much liife 
exceptions: it is the on iy one with an 8yi"x1V' 
worksheet, a transparent underlay feature that 
lets you slide one image beneath another, and a 
whole library of "clip art" you can cut and paste 
into drawings. This picture, supplied by the 
publisher, shows what you can do with standard 
IBM PC colors (4 onscreen at once) and 
resolution (320 x 200}. 

Although any ot the three let you bring 
pictures in from programs like 
spreadsheets, you can't take their 
pictures out and paste them into a 
document as you can with MACPAINT 
and other Macintosh programs. But 
then the IBM PC wasn't designed to be 
a Macintosh. 

the standard IBM PC color graphics 
card and monitor, giving you four 
colors onscreen at once and a 
maximum resolution of 320 x 200. By 
adding graphics boards, you double the 
resolution and add colors— to a 
maximum of 16 colors onscreen from a 
palette of 256 (PC PAINT with STB 
board; PC PAINTBRUSH with IBM 
Enhanced Graphics Adapter). 

PC PAINT. Version 1.5. $99 alone, copy-protected; 
$220 with Mouse Systems Mouse (street price 
S135), not copy-protected. IBM PC family; IBM 
coior graphics card and compatibles; STB 
Graphics Plus II (16 colors onscreen); input also 
from Microsoft Mouse. Output to color, biacii-and' 
wtiite dot matrix printers, Polaroid Palette. 
Mouse Systems Corp., 2336H Walsh Ave., Santa 
Clara, CA 95051; 408/968-0211 • PC 
PAINTBRUSH. Z^Sott. Version 2.8. $139; street 
price $89; SI 89 with Logitech or Mouse Systems 
Mouse; $495 with Summagraphics 6x9 digitizer; 
$795 with Summagraphics 12 x 12 digitizer. Copy- 
protected. IBM PC family (192K; 320K high res); 
AT&T 6300; Tandy 1000. IBM color graphics or 
enhanced graphics adapter boards, Persyst BOB, 
Scion Display Adapter, Plantronics, Hercules, STB 
Pius II, Tecmar, AT&T high res, Qua dram Quad 
color and others. Input from GTCO Micro DigiPad 
and Summagraphics digitizers. Output to wide 
variety of color and black-and-white dot matrix 
and \?k jet printers; HP747Q and 7475A plotters. 
IMSI, 1299 4th Street, San Rafael, CA 94901; 
415/454- 7101 •TELEPAINT. Version 2.0. $149. 
Not copy-protected. IBM PC/XT/AT/compatibles 
(256K). IBM color graphics card/compatibles; 
Input from Microsoft Mouse or compatibles; 
Output to Epson and IBM black-and-white dot 
matrix printers, IBM color graphics printer; 
Polaroid Palette. LCS/Telegraphics, 261 Vassar 
St., Cambridge, MA 02139; 800/427-0036 or, in 
MA, 617/547-4738. 

GtHl^s Sales 

Net Profit 

dol lars 

The picture on the left 
Is a SUPERCALC3 (p. 
67} bar chart; the 
picture on the right is 
the same picture 
enhanced by Robert 
Morgan using PC 
fastest of the three, 
most MACPAINT- like, 
and you can use 
FONTRIX (p. 125} font 

packs with it. These 
pictures were taken off 
the screen of a TAXAN 
monitor plugged into 
an IBM PC equipped 
with a Persyst BOB 






QipoMu %mHtm 

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Drawing tool for a variety of 
programs and mactiines . . . 


Apple lle/lli; (48K); $125 • Commodore 64 {disk 
or cartridge); $110 • IBM PC (128K); $150 (street 
price $89); iBI\A PCjr (126K); S125; copy- 
protected; Koala Technologies Corp., 2065 
Junction Ave., San Jose, CA 95131; 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: Koala bundles a 
painting program with each version of their 
KoalaPad, an inexpensive digitizing tablet. 
KOALAPAINTEfl lor the Apple !l, one of the 
first microconnputer painting programs, has 
many of the same features as the newer 
MACPAINT (p. 127) and other painting 

KATHLEEN O'NEILL: Tve been drawing ever 
since I can remember, and any graphics 
software that makes me use the keyboard 
instead of a stylus leaves me quickly 
frustrated. If you're interested in drawing 
with your computer and don1 want to jump 
into elaborate additions to your micro, the 
KoalaPad is an easy, wonderful place to 
start. The pad works with either your finger 
or a stylus and is surprisingly sensitive and 
accurate. I find it much quicker and easier to 
use than a joystick. 

The menus are full-screen, showing both 
words and pictures, so you don't have to 
remember any codes. A button on the pad 
changes you to the drawing screen. Storage 
and retrieval are very simple and quick, so 
it's easy to save drawings or to rework ones 
you've started. 

KOALAPAINTER for the Apple II family will 
draw in several pen shapes and do points, 
lines, connected lines, rays, circles, disks, 
erase, fill, frame, box, and magnify (control 
each pixel). 

The Commodore 64 version adds "oops*' 
(undo), copy, mirror, swap (move pictures 
between windows), and X-color (changes 
one color to another). The PCjr version has 
even more colors and functions. 

A little animation . . . 


Apple II family • Atari (48K) • Commodore 64; 
copy protected; S50. Interactive Picture Systems, 
42 East 23rd St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10010; 
212/475- 7053. 

ERIKTIMMERMAN: Compared to doing 
animation the traditional artwork-and-camera 
way, MOVIE MAKER is an absolute joy, but it 
is not for children. It's a complicated 
program, the documentation is fuzzy, and 
drawing in MOVIE MAKER is slow, difficult to 
control, and frustrating. While the 
limitations— low resolution (160 x 96) and 
onty four of Atari's 128 colors can be used at 

Incredible colors on an Apple II . , . 


David Snider. $60. Apple lie (128K)/llc. Copy- 
protected. Requires mouse, joystick, KoalaPad or 
Apple Grapliics Tatilet for input; Apple lie version 
works with Microtech Dumpling, Apple Super 
Serial, Apple II parallel, Orange Interface, 
Grappler, Grappler Plus, Epson APL and Picasso 
cards. Output to Apple Scribe, Epson JX80 color 
printers, Epson, NEC 8D23A, C.ITOH 8510 
ProWriter and Star Gemini dot matrix printers; 
will not run with RGB monitors or cards. 
Broderbund Software, 17 Paul Dr., San Rafael, CA 
94903; 415/479- 1170. 

sophisticated double-hi-res program that 
features 16 colors and 30 precreated 
patterns that can be modified or totally 
redesigned. It emulates and goes beyond 
MACPAINT with 24 different brush options, 
efficient shape options, and more point-to- 
point line options. DAZZLEDRAW is easy to 
use, the documentation actually makes 
sense and the program is largely self- 
explanatory. It's much better than 
MOUSEPAINT. a clumsy painting program 
that comes bundled with the Apple II mouse 
(the best graphic input device short of a 
graphics tablet). However, DAZZLEDRAW 
needs 128K, MOUSEPAINT requires 64K. 

DONNA COHEN; The wonderful color choices 
and slightly different menu approach make 
DAZZLEDRAW my personal favorite. You can 
have soft, uncomputerish tones like pink, 
olive green, and some nice earth colors. The 
menus are structured slightly differently than 
most other painting programs: after 
choosing a particular graphic feature from 
the first menu, a submenu appears at the 
bottom of the screen giving you a larger 
working picture area and offering deeper 
choices tor each particular function. 

DAZZLEDRA W has better color cfioices than any 
Apple U painting program and a slideshow 
capability tfiat makes ttie program a viable 
presentation system as well as a source ot 
constant amazement and amusement. 

any one time — are challenging, I recently did 
a title sequence that compares favorably with 
Monday Night Football titles. If you can get 
an Atari 800 with a good (read "non-Atari") 
disk drive at a low street price, add a good 
quality color monitorATV, a VCR, and an 
audio tape recorder, you could open a 
"movie studio" lor around S1500, and still 
have money left over for a good lunch, 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: Be aware, though, 
that you won't get broadcast quality video 
using an Atari 800. Macintosh animation 
programs (p. 127) are light-years easier to 
use, include more sophisticated drawing 
tools, and take advantage of Mac's high 

Afl Koala 's programs are easy to use and fun, 
KOAiAPAtNTEB (for the IBM PCjr} has the 
most colors and functions— here demonstrated by 
Kathleen O'NeilL 

Create a sequence of drawings with MOVtE 
n^AKBR on an Atari 880 and chain them together 
tor a 45-second onscreen "movie. " Or, even 
better, record them on video tape by plugging the 
Atari into your TV set (with VCR) and create an 
animated feature film. 


After James Oowlen drew this landscape with 
LUMENA software on a Mindset computer, he 
printed it with a Diablo Inkjet printer ($1350), 
This is the printout. Inkjet printers, like dot matrix 
printers, print dots. The resolution matches what 
you woutd see on the monitor with this 
software— about 300 by 200 pixels. 

Artist James Dow i en created this image using 
LUMENA, and says, "If you have ever tried to draw 
a checkerboard tile floor in proper perspective, 
you know that even though it is simple 
perspective, it can be quite a task. With LUMENA 
you can iay out the tile pattern fiat on the screen 
(as you would see it looking straight down), 
choose a horizon fine and a vanishing point and 
the floor will lie down in perfect perspective. " 

It takes a pot of gold to buy a rainbow , , , 

Professional Painting Packages 

BARBARA ROBERTSON; If you're a professional artist, you'll soon discover you 
want nnore than 16 colors onscreen at once. You need the additional colors for 
subtle shadings that add dinnension to your work and also for "anti-aliasing"— 
a method of fixing "escalator" lines by adding color shades to the jaggy stair 
steps until they blend into the background and appear straight. Software that 
works with graphics cards to give you a palette of 16 million colors with 256 
onscreen at any time is available for IBM PCs; however, the price of admission 
to this colorful world is steep, and putting all the expensive pieces together 
compatibly is very tricky. Software developers, keenly aware that artists have 
low budgets, and faced with costly customer support necessary just to answer 
hardware questions, are targeting small, manageable niches with deep, cost- 
justifiable pockets (advertising agencies and video studios, primarily) rather 
than fighting for survival in the mass market. Meanwhile, hardware 
manufacturers and "system integrators" who sell dedicated graphics 
workstations (S20,000 and up) are stepping into the fray, Computer Graphics 
World ($30/yr [12 issues); PenWeil Publishing, 1714 Stockton St., San 
Francisco, CA 94133; 800/331-5959) is the best source of information on this 
topsy-turvy world. Although technical in tone, they frequently publish 
informative surveys of painting packages, graphics boards, and monitors. 

LUMENA, a wonderful painting package for professionals, provides a good 
example of the changeable market. LUMENA has an enormous number of 
features— MACPAINT (p. 127) carried to the nth power in 16 million colors, 
year you could buy the software alone. This year you must buy a software/ 
hardware combination from the software publisher. Next year . . . ? 


RIK JADRNICEK: You can freely edit and manipulate images you create with 
LUMEhJA — in some cases, even images transferred from video — using, to name 
a few of the more unusual features; rotating, rescaling, temporary zoom, 
tapering, shadowing, perspective mapping, grid overlays, gravity lines, and 

JAMES DOWLEN: You have several pen and brush choices: a "-1" pen has the 
feel of a fine-point detail pen; using a large brush feels like painting with thick 
paint. The colors are beautiful and can be mixed at will, with very subtle 
adjustments of tone or value, and the luminosity is exciting— has the same 
emotional impact as stained glass lit from behind. Since you are dealing with 
light, you may need to alter your thinking when mixing colors: primary colors 
are now red, green, and blue rather than red. yellow, and blue. You'll catch on, 
it's not difficult, 

LUWENA SUBK1T: S7000. fBM PC/XT/AT/compatibles (256 to 512K): copy-protected. IncJudes 2 
graphics boards (frame buffer and image memory module) and LUMENA software. LUMENA 
PRODUCER: S9995. Includes IBM PC compatible computer (256K}. 10 MB hard disk, high resolution 
RGB monitor, 1 floppy disk drive, digitizing tablet, and LUMENA SUBKIT. One-year warranty on 
PRODUCER software and hardware; one free software update. Input: Mice, digitizing tablets (call 
for latest list). Output to NTSC video. Diablo C-150 color inkiet printer. Matrix PCR and OCR, 
Polaroid Video Printer, Kodak CRT Slide Imager and Calcomp Samurai film recorder. Time Arts, 
Inc., 3436 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, CA 95401; 707 576-7722. 

Great precision . . . 

Two-D Computer-Aided Design (CAD) 

RIK JADRNICEK: Two-D CAD software is best suited tor dratting 
applications and is often referred to as vector-based software. 
With pixel-based painting software, information on every dot of 
light (pixel) is saved and used to describe an element such as a 
line. Vector-based storage is more efficient, in that only the end 
points of a line need to be stored; the rest of the points are filled 
in automatically using a mathematical description of the line. A 

circle can be described with center data point and a specific 

The key diflerence between the two kinds of software is the 
physical size and detail of the drawing each is capable of 
producing. Painting software controls only the area appearing 
on the monitor display surface. Good 2-D CAD software lets you 
create a drawing larger than the monitor display surface — the 
monitor acts as a window onto smaller areas of the drawing. For 
example, you might define a 2-D Xand Kcoordinate system to 


be a 24 X 36 inch piece of paper. As you enter an element into 

the drawing on the screen, numbers (coordinates) and attributes 
(e.g. , color, layer, line type) are recorded in a drawing database. 
This lets you then freely manipulate (edit), mathematically 
transform (move, copy rescale, rotate), store, and transmit the 
drawing. You might zoom in so that one square inch fills the 
entire monitor screen , permitting you to draw very precisely 
You might then zoom out so that the entire 36 X 24 inch drawing 
fills the monitor screen, giving an overview of what you have 

Good 2-D CAD software comes with ready-to-use drawing tools 
called "primitives": line, arc, circle, fill, array, and text— the 
more the better. These can be combined to produce curves, 
polygons, fillets (rounding corners), etc. Dimensioning and 
math calculations should also be included. 

In addition, you ought to develop your own tools— for example, 
building a library of shapes and drawings you can save on disi< 

to use in future drawings and save time. Good documentation, 
tutorials, ease-of-use, and user customization are also 
important considerations, since CAD software tends to be 

The more computers and supporting hardware devices (plotters, 
digitizers, graphics boards) the software supports, the more 
people you will be able to share your drawings with. This is, 
after all, the spirit of microcomputers. 

Two-D CAD programs are beginning to communicate with other 
programs, such as spreadsheets and analysis programs. Some 
software permits you to produce a parts list or bill of materials 
along with a database of specific drawing elements. 

Video scanners are being developed that will enter drawings 
previously created manually into computerized parts libraries 
without requiring that they be redrawn , Designing and drafting 
functions are beginning to blend into one operation. 

Low price, good for simple drawings . . . 


Version 1.4. S395, street price S2S9, IBI^fl PC 
family/compatibles (256K); IBM color card. Not 
copy-protected. Input: MIcrographix light pens, 
keyboard. Output to IBM color printer, Epson, 
IBM, Okidata, C.ltoh and otlier dot matrix 
printers; Hewlett-Packard and Houston 
Instruments plotters. MicTografx. Inc., 17D1 North 
Greenville, Suite 305, Richardson, 7X75801; 

BOB SOHR: Applause to Micrografx for an 
excellent, exceptionally easy-to-learn, well- 
documented program at the lowest price 
level, PC-DRAW has limited capabilities 
compared with state-of-the-art CAD software, 
but it's a quarter of tfie price. It has all you 
need to do flowcharts, office layouts, forms, 
circuit or graphic design, and business 
graphics (pie and bar charts, etc.). This is the 
way to start for the just curious." You can 
use it as an educational tool or a toy (it's 
simple and should be fascinating for a child), 

The tutorial and documentation are 
excellent— among the best I've seen and a 
model for other software vendors. The 
installation worked as advertised when I 
followed It line by line, I made one phone 
call to the company (concerning printer 
support) and obtained immediate, friendly, 
and competent help. 

You can freehand-draw from the keyboard 
using the cursor-control keys (limited to 
vertical, horizontal, and diagonal moves); 
draw lines point to point; create circles, arcs, 
and ellipses; or select symbols from two 
onscreen libraries, and you can create your 
own symbols and menu. Once in your 
drawing, you can move, expand, or reduce, 
replicate or dimension any symbol, however 
produced. Also, you can toggle on or off a 
background grid (size adjustable) and add 
text (provided or custom]. Four abutting 
pages forming a square are in memory at any 
time (allowing you to create a drawing four 
times screen size). Symbols can be copied 
from one screen page to any other. 

All this is enough to produce an amazing 
variety of drawings, although it would be nice 
to have unlimited freehand drawing (curves 
and angles). I didn't get to try a light pen, 
which presumably would help, Medium- 
resolution color is now supported with lots of 
color combinations onscreen, but of course it 
gives you less drawing on the same size 

PC-DRAW is highly recommended as an 
entry-level CAD package. For some 

applications, it will be all you ever need, and 
in any case it can serve as a tutorial and 
introduction to the 2-D graphics world. 

PC-DRAW'S onscreen menus take the guesswork 
Qul of command and symbol selection. At $395 a 
bargain program and a good one to start with tor 
2-0 technical drawing. 

introductory program, 
good for isometrics . . , 


Apple II family; 64K; includes joystick controller; 
supports accelerator board; input: Apple graphics 
tablet, Houston HI-PAD and lie mouse; output to 
dot matrix printers with graphics dump; drives 
most plotters, including Hewlett-Packard, 
Houston Instruments, Holand, Amdek, Apple 
Color Plotter; copy-protected? YES; CAD-1, S1095; 
CAD-2, $1495: Chessell-Robocom Corporation, 
Roho Systems, 111 Pheasant Run, Newtown, PA 
1894Q; 215.068-4422. 

RIK JADRNICEK; CAD-1 is for the Apple 
owner who wants semi-professional CAD 
capability. It is best used for small drawings 
ranging from block diagrams to detailed 
architectural and isometric drawings and as 
an introduction to computer-aided design, 

CAD-2 adds keyboard data entry, semi- 
automatic auto-dimensioning, cross- 
hatching and other advanced drafting 
features, and reduces the amount of disk 
swapping necessary with CAD-1- ROBOVIEW 
(£195), a 3-D visualizer that works with 

CAD-2 drawings, can generate wire frame 
representations of structures you can then 
view from any point in space— above, below, 

all around, or from inside. ROBODATA 
($125) works with either and generates 
database information for a parts list or bill of 

Both programs have onscreen menus, good 
documentation, and file management utilities 
to help you through the learning process. 
While not as all-encompassing as CADAPPLE 
(p. 134), both ROBOGRAPHICS programs 
are written in fast assembly language and are 
significantly faster. They overcome Apple's 
memory limitations by developing and using 
ibraries of shapes. If a drawing gets too 
arge and occupies too much memory, you 
can save a copy and re-insert it in the 
drawing as a single entity which thus 
requires less memory. 

A few drawing niceties are missing, like the 
ability to draw on different layers and the 
support of high-resolution monitors, but 
these programs are fast, powerful, and easy 
to use< 


With CADPLAN, you can print a bill of materials 
liased on information in the drawing — in this case 
a fist of office furniture with costs automaticaily 
totaled for multiple items in the drawing. 

Simple technical drawing . . . 


Mark Cutter. Version 1.7. $195. Not copy- 
protected. Macintosh. Appie Computer, inc., 
20525 Mariani Ave., Cupertino, CA 95014; 


ttie technical draftsman. While MACPAiNT 
(p, 127) treats objects as a series of pixeis, 
MACDRAW treats objects as attributes 
(circles, squares, lines), With MACDRAW, 
you can slide objects over each ottier and 
each retains its identity, With MACPAINT, 
sliding one object over another causes ttie 
two to merge, 

DAN DUGAN: Screen ruiers let you change 
scaie without changing ttie drawing. 
iHowever, accuracy is limited and sometimes 

Medium precision, and easy . . . 


Version 1.45. iBM PC/XT/AT/COmpatibies (320K). 
S160Q. Copy-protected. iBM Coior Graphics, 
Conograptiics, Scion, Sigma and Hercules Cards 
Input: Mouse Systems Mouse, GTCO, Kurta or 
Houston instruments digitizers. Output to IBM, 
Caicomp, Houston instruments or Hewlett- 
Packard piotters; Epson or iBM dot matrix 
printers. Personai CAD Systems, Inc., 981 
University, Los Gatos, CA 95030; 408/354-7193. 

space planning, block diagrams, even 
freehand si<etching, and it includes most of 
the elements of a good CAD system: muitiple 
(65) layers, grids, zooming and panning, 
and symbol libraries, It works easily witti 
incfies, but if you want to do detailed 
architectural drawings and define points and 
angles in decimal units, it may not be 
precise enough, Also, very large drawings 
require pre-planning since the capacity of a 
drawing depends on the available memory, 

CADPLAfJ Includes semi-automatic 

dimensioning (the program tells you the 
distance between any two points according 
to the scale you set). With the optional 
report generator (S400) you can, for 
example, produce a bill of materials or parts 
list from the drawing you just created, 

CADPLAN supports a variety of input and 
output devices and is very easy to use, but 
make sure it will suit your needs, The more 
basic version called CAODRAF ($495), or 
PC-DRAW (p. 133). may be all you need if 
you are interested primarily in space 
planning or block diagrams. 

Drafting by hand is faster than using a CAD 
system when you're drawing an object in detail. 
However once drawn, the object (a flange, bolt, 2 
X 4, cabinet, etc.) can be inserted in a new 
drawing in a matter of seconds. After you've 
created severai object files, the speed gains over 
drawing with pencil and paper become 
enormous. VERS AC AD provides a library of 
objects you can use right away 

ambiguous. For example, a three-pixel-wide 
line can be accurately centered using the 
pixel in the middle, but the ruler must 
center a two-pixel tine to the nearest pixel. 
Therefore, some "tenths of an inch" might 
be 7 pixels wide, and some 8. Also, 
MACDRAW seems to have a subconscious 
aversion to angled lines — maybe because it 
can't make them look right, "angle" isn't 
even in the index. 

comparable to PC-DRAW (p, 133} in 
capability and application, but has some 
severe limitations. I'm often amazed, 
though, at what Mac owners will endure. For 
example, although drawings can be quite 
large, you must print them out on %V2" by 
11" sheets and paste them together. 
Reviewer Dan Dugan bought MACDRAW and 
a paper cutter. 

Professional drafting . . . 


IBM PC/XT/ AT/compatibies; Tl Professionaf; 
Version 3.1 (384K); Version 4.0 (512K); SUOS; 
copy-protected; supports iBM color card and 
Enlianced Graphics Adapter, Conograptiics, 
Hercules, Artist; input: Houston instruments, 
Kurta or Summagrapliics digitizing tablets. HP 
20Q, 82495; input: HP 9411A graphics tableL 
Output to Houston instruments and Hewiett- 
Packard plotters. 


Version 3.0: S1495; Apple II family (64K); copy- 
protected. Supports California Computer Systems 
7T1D-Q1, Apple Super Serial, Asynchronous serial 
interface and Grappier cards; input: joystick, 
Houston Instruments DT11 digitizing tablet; output 
to dot matrix printers. 

Both from T&W Systems, Inc., 7372 Prince Drive, 
Suite 106, Huntington Beach, CA 92G47; 

are two versions of a capable 2-D drafting 
program developed in 1977, With either 
program you can create very professional 
drawings including full architectural plots. All 
the basic editing and image-manipulation 
functions of a good CAD system are present. 
Unique features are: you can save 
"snapshot" zoomed views of your work and, 
with the library feature, develop groups of 
100 symbols and plot them out on a 10" x 
10" symbol grid for later use in drawings, 

Professional CAD software using floating- 
point math tends to be inherently slow in 
zooming and panning and VERSACAD is no 
exception, although speedy RAM-disk 
configurations can be developed. Version 
4,0, written in C, works under the PC DOS 
operating system and Is faster than the 
Pascal-based version 3.1 , New features in 
4.0 include: geometric functions (such as 
parallel lines), filleting, trimming of lines and 
arcs at intersection points, object swap, a 
paragraph style of text entry, unproportional 
scaling of object groups (changing objects to 
twice as high and three times wider), 
windows for merging drawings, panning in 
any direction, 250 layers, and options for 
changing the direction of objects. In 
addition, you can define any type of 
measurement unit — fathoms, rods, inches, 
metric, etc— and change your mind while 
you're in a drawing. An optional Bill of 
Materials program ($495) provides definable 
formats for calculating unit costs and labor 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: If you want to jump 
right in and begin drafting, consider 
VERSACAD— it's easier to learn than 
AUTOCAD (p, 135). But AUTOCAD can be 
customized to do many functions 
automatically which, if you are wiliing to 
invest the time initially, saves time later. 


Professional 2-D drawing, precise through 

unlimited layers . . . 


Version 2.1, $1000; with ADE2; S2000 (street 
price $1475); with ADE2 and ADE3: S25Q0; not 
copy-protected. IBM PC/XT/AT/compatibies (51 2K; 
liard disk; 8087 co-processor; IBM color card and 
Enhanced Graphics Adapter, Hercules, Tecmar, 
Scion PC640); Tl Professional. NEC APC & APC 
til, DEC Rainbow. Fujitsu M16, Tandy 2000, Wang 
PC/PIC, Zenith Z100, NCR DMV, OG ONE, Victor 
9000, Apricot, HP150, IBM 3270. input: Houston 
Instruments, Hitachi, Summagrsphics, Calcomp, 
GTCO, Kurta digitizing tablets and others: Mouse 
Systems, USI, Microsoft, Tl, Tandy and Wang 
mice; joystick; KoalaPad. Output to Houston 
Instruments, Hewlett-Packard, Strope, Sweet 
Pea, Calcomp and other plotters; Oatacopy Model 
100 and Wang PIC systems image digitizers 
(requires CADCAMERA software - S3000|; 
Autodesk, Inc., 2320 Marinship Way, Sausalito, 
CA 94965; 415/331-0336. 

much the standard in the 2-D world as 1-2-3 
(p. 68) is in the spreadsheet world, and for 
much the same reasons. It's good, fast, and 
can be customized, in fact, when Autodesk 
pubiished their first catalog of appiications in 
Spring 1985 they iisted more than 100 
products that work with, connect to, or are 
templates for AUTOCAD — products for 
architecture, facilities planning, piping, 
theatrical lighting, general drafting, and 
engineering — chemical, electrical, 
electronic, mechanical, structural, civil. One 
of the few applications programs sold by 
Autodesk is AE/CADD by ArchSoft, a S1000 
template tor architects and engineers. The 
template actually lies on top of a digitizing 
tablet and has predefined parts— wall parts 
and sizes, windows, doors, appliances, 
stairs — all sorts of useful pieces that can be 
popped, pre-drawn, into a drawing. The 
template also has many predefined macro 
commands so you can, without learning how 
to "program" in AUTOCAD, do many 
functions automatically. 

drawings ranging from simple flowcharts to 
large and complex architectural 
drawings. Your microcomputer becomes a 
drafting table with pencil, paper, T-square, 
compass, and more. For example, with 
AUTOCAD you can simulate an unlimited 
number of layers of 24 x 36 inch tracing 
paper precisely registered one on top of the 
other, and you can draw on each piece of 
paper to an accuracy of less than one- 
trillionth of an inch (floating-point math), 
Since the program becomes slower as the 
drawing grows larger, a numerical 
coprocessor chip (8087: S260; 8287: $340) 
is recommended to speed things up. All data 
and commands can be entered from the 
keyboard or (faster and easier) with a variety 
of input devices supported by the program. 
Multicolored plots ranging from letter to 
architectural size can be printed. 

A rich set of primitive commands enables 
various constructions of lines, arcs, and 
circles used for precision drawing. Editing 
features include erasing, moving, copying, 
scaling, and rotating of drawing elements. 
ADE2 adds semi-automatic dimensioning, 
object snap, filleting, cross-hatching, 
attribute assignments, and extraction (so 
that you can create a bill of materials), and 

ADE3 adds 3-D viewing of objects created in 
2-D, French curves, polylines (for curve 
fitting) and a freeze and thaw feature that 
speeds up the program because you can 
prevent unaffected parts of the drawing from 
being updated with every change you make. 

User-definable menus, macros, and 
command files allow facile customization by 
users without programming knowledge (a 
very powerful feature). You can create and 
save libraries of shapes, then retrieve and 
place in drawings by selecting them from an 
onscreen menu or by touching pictures on the 
digitizer surface- 
Zooming and panning capabilities turn the 
monitor into a window scrolling over the 
surface of a large drawing. Zooming into a 
small area enlarges that area and permits 
detailed drawing. 

you plan to do extensive work with the 
program, a hard disk drive is recommended 
to speed up disk input/output, Like a word 
processor, AUTOCAD is a picture processor, 
saving pages of drawings on disk as available 
RAM fills up. 

AUTOCAD is a very sophisticated, 
mathematically precise program and an 
excellent choice for professionals, 

AUTOCAD'S complete macro language is a 
subset of LISP which means you can now 
pass variables within AUTOCAD. You can, for 
example, define a scale as a variable and use 
it in equations with "if/then" and "go to " 
statements. It will be interesting to see what 
new applications are developed with this 
programming capability. 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: The popularity of 
AUTOCAD has even spawned a magazine: 
CAOalyst, The Journal o1 the AutoCAD 
Users' Group ($4.50 each; 282-810 W, 
Broadway, Vancouver. B.C. Canada V5Z 
4C9.) IVs chatty, full of advice and product 
ads for AUTOCAD users and, although an 
AUTOCAD cheerleader, spends some of its 
pages making suggestions to Autodesk. 

To insert a shape from this temp fate into a 
drawing, simply touch it with a digitizer stylus or 
puck, select the insertion point in your drawing, 
and quick as a wink, you've added a pre-drawn 
oblect. The AUTOCAD template shown here is 
from AE CADD. 

Both these drawings were created with AUTOCAD, 
showing the program's versatility. Although it 
looks as if the entire drawing is on one layer, in 
both cases, various pieces are actually drawn on 
separate iayers. 

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This picture, rendered using CUBtCQMP software 
on an IBM XT, is actuaUy composed of several 3- 
D and 2-D images layered one on top of another. 
Ttte bac leg round, the room, the furniture, and the 
plants were alt drawn separately and combined to 
make this realistic tableau. 

The CUB I CO MP system is expensive, but the kind 
of sophisticated surface and shading and 
smoothing you see in this 3-D drawing are very 
difficult mathematical feats. 

Solids modeling . . . 

3-D Computer-Aided Design (CAD) 

BARBARA ROBERTSON; Three-D popped up everywhere this year— AUTOCAD 
(p. 135) gives you 3-D views of 2-D drawings, so does ROBOGRAPHiCS (p. 
133). The toiks who make ADVANCED SPACE GRAPHICS (p. 137) released 
CADKEY — which lets you edit 3-D drawings in 2-D. 3-D is just beginning to 
become useful. I expect that by next year, all the 2-D programs will have 3-D 
capability, and some of it will be very sophisticated, 

RIK JADRNICEK; Three-D computer-aided design software is often referred to 
as solids-modeling software. The solid image is normally constructed by linking 
a collection of polygons of various shapes and sizes. The more polygons used, 
the smoother and more representative the shape will be. Advanced 
software (see CUBICOMP. p. 136) will even smooth curved surfaces so that a 
sphere (actually made up of polygons) really looks like a sphere. 

As with 2-D CAD, data points are stored in a database. Since a database is kept 
of each element used in creating an object, once created, the objects can be 
rotated in space, scaled, edited, stored, and transmitted, More advanced 
packages include hidden-line removal and surface shading, both of which 
contribute to the illusion of reality. This simply means that lines normally out of 
sight (tailing behind other lines and surfaces) are removed and that the surface 
is shaded to mimic the way light would be reflected off a real object. With 
advanced software like CUBICOMP a palette of more than 16 million colors can 
be used to precisely shade an irregular shaped object while changing the light 
source. So a doughnut really looks like a doughnut. 

Loaded with features, priced 
accordingly . . . 


ModetMaker 100: S35Q0; ConograpNIcs card (4 
colors onscreen from palette of 16). • 
ModelMakef 300: S500Q, Revolution card (8 bits 
pixel; 256 colors onscreen from palette of 4096). 
• ModelMaker 500: S11 ,900: includes Cubicomp's 
frame buffer (graphics card in external box) and 
interlace card (12 to 16 bits pixel; 4096 colors 
onscreen maximum from palette of 16,000,000): 
requires high resolution RGB monitor (Mitsubishi 
3919 for S2900 recommended). • PictureMaker: 
S25.OO0; includes LUfVIENA (p. 132) adapted for 
Cubicomp's frame buffer, the Cubicomp frame 
buffer (with Genlock for video output) and 
interface card; requires high resoiution RGB 

IBM PC XT AT: 640K; Intel 8087 math chip 
recommended; hard disk recommended. Input: 
most digitizing tablets. Output to Houston 
Instruments. Hewlett-Packard plotters; Diablo 
C-150, Tektronix 4965 color printers; film 
recorders. Not copy-protected. CalComp 
Corporation, 3165 Adeline St.. Berkeley, CA 
94703; 415.540-5733. 

RIK JADRNICEK: For the price of an IBM PC 
plus hardware and software upgrades 
totaling about $10,000 you can have a 3-D 
system as good as many costing upwards to 

Start with a "wire-frame" model. Remove the 
fines that would be out of sight. Shade and smooth 
the surface, and you have a 3-D image. 
CUBiCQMP's software even lets you punch holes 
and put objects inside. 

You don't need to calculate coordinate 
points, since you can enter data points by 
using a digitizer. You can create wire frame 
models of three-dimensional figures wtiile 
scaling and rotating them in space. You can 
design complicated and irregular shapes and 
even punch holes m them using the 
keyboard and digitizing tablet. Also, you can 
remove the hidden lines, save the images on 
disk, and recall them at will. 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: All four packages 
let you string together many commands and 

automatically run the batch using macro 
commands, and ail have the same basic 
capability to draw objects in three 
dimensions onscreen, display them with 
perspective and view them from any angle. 
However, the complexity varies with each 

ModelMaker 100 displays wire frame line 
drawings using up to 1000 polygons and has 
hidden line removal. ModelMaker 300 adds 

simple shading to the drawings and anti- 
aliasing. ModelMaker 500 adds solid 
modeling, complex shading, and increases 
the number ot polygons to 4000. 
PictureMaker adds LUMENAs 2-D painting 
capabilities, software for titling and true 3-D 

The four programs are compatible— a 
ModelMaker 100 picture can be moved into 
PictureMaker and enhanced: a PictureMaker 
drawing can be displayed in ModelMaker 100 
(however, only as a wire frame line drawing). 


stick modeling and 3D . . . 

$1095; $1995 with Space Tablet Digitizer; IBIVI PC/ 
XT/AT/compatibles (192K); not copy-protected. 
IBM color graphics card, Tecmar Graphics Master, 
Conographics. Input: Space Tablet Digitizer. 
Output to Houston Instruments, Hewlett-Packard 
plotters; IBM and Epson dot matrix printers. 

$1895 (includes card); IBM PC/XT/AT/compatibles 
(512K); Requires Intel 8087 or 8287 math chip; 
copy-protected. IBM color card or Enhanced 
Graphics Adapter, Tecmar Graphics Master, 
Conographics. Input: Summagraphics, GTCO, 
Houston Instruments, Hitachi digitizers, Summa, 
Mouse Systems and Torrenton mice. Output to HP 
7400/7500 and Houston Instruments DMP 
plotters; IBM and Epson dot matrix printers. 

Both from Micro Control Systems, Inc., 143 
Tunnel Rd., Vernon, CT 06066; 203/647-0220. 

GRAPHICS comes with the only 3-D digitizer 
I know of, a novel idea. You can place a bowl 
on the digitizing tablet and enter its shape 
into the connputer by touching a number of 
points on the surface of the bowl. When the 
data points are connected (automatically), 
the result is an onscreen (monochrome) 
"stick" representation of the surface. 

Once the surface is defined, you can look 
simultaneously at a top, side, and front view 

Low price, requires matti knowledge . . . 

Version 1.3; IBM PC compatibles; 128K; color 
graphics board; RGB monitor; outputs to Epson 
MX/FX, C. Itoh, Okidata 92/93, Mannesman Tally 
160/180, NEC 8023, IDS Prism black-and-white 
dot matrix printers; with $100 plotter option, 
supports HP 7470A/7475, Houston Instruments 
DMP 29, 40 and 41, CalComp 84, Strobe 260, 
IBM 749/750/7371/7372, Sweet-Pea, Mannesman 
Tally Pixie, Amplot II plotters; copy-protected? 
NO; $350 (street price $259); Enertronics 
Research, Inc., 150 North Meramec, Suite 207, 
St. Louis, MO 63105; 800/325-0174. 

surprisingly inexpensive package chock full of 
graphics surprises. It will do everything from 
business graphics to 3-D solids stick 
modeling. If you want a tutorial and extensive 
documentation on the state of 3-D graphics, 
this would be the least expensive entry 
package to get involved with. But prepare 
yourself for a mathematical journey into the 
third dimension. ENERGRAPHICS is more of 
a tutorial or learning experience than a 
software package for practical everyday use. 
You get a lot for your money. 

of the object on the monitor. You can expand 
and shrink both the horizontal X- and vertical 
Y-axis scales to manipulate the object, rotate 
and move the shape, even look at it from 
different perspectives, and zoom in to 
enlarge parts of the shape for more detailed 
drawing. You cannot (as with CUBICOMP, p. 
136) remove hidden lines, but you can 
accurately measure distances from point to 
point— one of the best uses of the program. 

With CADKEY you design objects in 3-D, 
and then edit in either 2-D or 3-D. The 
product is primarily useful for mechanical 
engineers who want to draw a tool (a 
hammer, hose nozzle, etc.), look at it if from 
several perspectives (a change here changes 
all the views at once), then finish the details 
in 2-D. With AUTOCAD (p. 135), you do the 
reverse: draft in 2-D, put each drawing in 
layers, "tape" the drawings together, and 
then view a 3-D representation. 

With ttie ADVANCED SPACE GRAPHICS liardware/ 
software combination you can trace a pliysicai 
object in 3-D on the screen by moving the "Space 
Tablet" around the object's surface. 

3-D links to 2-D programs . 

3DESIGN3: $1000 (includes interfaces to 
AUTOCAD, p. 135, VERSACAD, p.134 and 
CADPLAN p. 134); $1200 (includes Tritek 2-D 
software); SOLIDSHADE: $500; IBM PC/XT/AT/ 
compatibles (256K); copy-protected; IBM color 
card, Tecmar Graphics Master, Conographics, 
Hercules, Amdek, MAI, Revolution. Input: Mouse 
Systems and Microsoft mice; GTCO, Hitachi, 
Houston Instruments, Kurta and Summagraphics 
digitizing tablets. Output to Hewlett-Packard, 
Houston Instruments, Amdek and Calcomp 
plotters. SOLIDSHADE output only to graphics 
printers and Polaroid Palette film recorder. Tritek 
Vision Systems, 4710 University Way N.E., Suite 
512, Box C-56789, Seattle, WA 98105; 

BOB SOHR: With 3DESIGN3, architects, 
engineers, and designers can create images 
of objects and then rotate, scale, translate, 
and view these images from different 
perspectives. It's like being able to walk 
around the image on the screen. You can 
compose new objects using copies of 
images stored in libraries on disk. Or, using 
a digitizing tablet, create vertical, horizontal, 
and diagonal lines, circles, arcs, curves of 
lines at arbitrary angles. Images tend to look 
fairly crude, with noticeable aliasing 
(diagonal lines look jagged). 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: New features this 
year include the ability to move drawings 
from 2-D programs into 3DESIGN3, and the 
SOLIDSHADE program that takes views of 3- 
D objects to let you flood the polygons with 
color, shade the image, reposition it, change 
the light source and add text. 

BOB SOHR: Some nice features are a 
hidden-line removal routine (runs slow, as 
do most 3-D programs), rubber-band lines 
(get a starting point, then watch the line 
follow the cursor anywhere on the screen), a 
"Z-axis indicator" that shows you, with a 
kind of depth gauge, how far in or out of the 
screen the current point you're describing is, 
and a hierarchical structure for objects (the 
typewriter on the desk in your picture is 
"attached" to the desk and moves with it). 

With 3DESIGN3 you can remove hidden lines and 
then take 3-D drawings one step past 
ENERGRAPHICS by adding elementary surface 



Art Kleiner, Domain Editor 

ART KLEINER: Someday everybody will communicate by 
computer. Personal computer networking— exchanging words 
and pictures between terminals, over phone or cable — 
enhances communication so conveniently and powerfully it will 
eventually become as widely used as the telephone is now. The 
emerging army of dreamers who will make this happen 
includes corporations— AT&T IBM, Sears, Citibank, CBS, and 
the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain— but the systems planned 
by those companies are greatly outnumbered by systems from 
individuals and small companies. These are still pioneer days, 
and personal computer owners are the pioneers. 

People play games, order products, start small businesses that 
span continents on national conferencing networks, retrieve 
public-domain software from free bulletin boards, investigate 

background material for new stories, seek romance, get stock 
quotations, and work at home. 

Most national computer networks, such as The Source, 
CompuServe, and a dozen others reviewed in this section, give 
you a password and charge by the amount of time you're 
actually logged on (the "connect hour"). To reach them, you 
simply dial a local phone number that ties into one of several 
long-distance carriers which are cheaper than the regular 
phone lines. 

Less expensive than national networks are local computer 
bulletin boards, which you can dial into to leave messages or 
take part in discussions. 

They're often free, but you must pay any long-distance charges 
if you dial one far from home. We review guides to existing 
bulletin boards on page 148, and software for starting your 
own on page 149. Here's an example of the power of a local 
bulletin board: In 1983, David Hughes of Colorado Springs 

raif mi 


iii m mi 

"A computer is a communications device 
first, second, and {h»6."-Alan Kay 

STEWART BRAND: "Telecommunicating" is our founding 
domain. Three ways, in fact. 

For me it was a cold plunge into teleconferencing that swerved 
my life toward personal computers and led directly to this book. 
In January 1983 1 was invited by the Western Behavioral 
Sciences Institute in La Jolla, California, to participate as faculty 
in their School of Management and Strategic Studies. It was a 
six-month stint, nearly all of it conducted from my office on a 
Kaypro they loaned me to hook up to the 40 or so nationwide 
"students" (corporate executives) via the marvelous EIES 
network (p. 147). A success in its own right, the project also 
revolutionized my writing, my thinking, my work network, and 
my business. 

People have been interested in this book's sizable advance, the 
$1 .3 million from Doubleday, and in the fact that an eight-page 
proposal inspired it. What's more interesting to me is that it took 
only ten days for four coauthors to write that proposal and 
wrestle it through four drafts, even though one of us was 
traveling (Art Kleiner), one was on the East Coast (John 
Brockman), and two were jittering around in California (myself 
and Richard Dalton). The ectoplasmic bond was the EIES 
network. Its immediacy and convenience served admirably the 
need to make a single-voiced, enthusiastic, carefully proofed 
document. I'm not sure we could have managed it without 

Art Kleiner is the living link between previous Wliole Eartli 
Catalogs and this project. He was Research Editor of the two 
editions of Tlie Next Whole Earth Catalog (1981, 1982) and 
frequent Editor of our CoEvolution Quarterly. Building on his 
early involvement with EIES- he's been a user consultant since 

Art Kleiner 

1979— he became Whole Earth's 
computer specialist, convener of 
the Personal Computer section in 
The Next Whole Earth Catalog. 
When this project came up, he 
had just left on sabbatical to do a 
book on the history of magazines 
and the invention of marketing. 
Returning to the rescue, he put 
together the network of friends 
and colleagues that initiated what 
you see here. 

The telecommunications section is long because it covers online 
services as well as telecommunications software and hardware. 
Also, it is long because the subject is the most difficult in the 
book. Burdened by expertise, Art had the arduous task of triply 
distilling an already hard liquor 

Computer Conferencing 

Bulletin Boards 148-149 
Bulletin Board 

Software 148-149 
Local conferencing 

systems 148 
National networks 146-147 

Electronic Mall 145 

File Transfer Programs 156 

Local Area Networks 157 

Modems 154-155 

Online Services 

Costs 140 
Databases 143 
Home banking 139 
Investing 142 
News 144 

Terminal Programs 150-154 

entered onto his board the text of a pernicious city council bill 
outlawing professional work at home. Instead of tracking the 
bill down at City Hall, residents could dial in at their 
convenience and read the bill at home. Within a week, Hughes 
had gathered enough angry readers to storm the next city 
council meeting and influence council members to defeat the 

Hughes' newest venture is an example of the next wave of 
computer networks— local multi-user conferencing systems. 
These charge less than national networks, and are more 
reliable and (in many ways) more rewarding than local bulletin 
boards. For our report, see page 148. 

To begin telecommunicating, you need to buy a modem— an 
electronic box that translates computer characters into sounds 
that travel through phone lines. Another modem decodes them 
at the other end. You also need a communications software 
package (called a terminal program) to run on your personal 
computer. This program controls the modem, shunting text 
between it and your screen, disks, and printer. Modems don't 
vary much— we recommend a small selection on page 155— 

but terminal programs offer an increasingly large number of 
options. You'll find our recommendations on pages 150-154. 

If you send a lot of programs and other files from one 
computer to another, you might want file-transfer software, 
reviewed on page 156. "An acquaintance regularly sends me 
spreadsheet files by phone," Louis Jaffe wrote us. "Loaded 
into SUPERCALC (p. 67) they work just fine." Ultimate file 
transfer— local networks that allow several computers in one 
building to work with the same files simultaneously— is 
described on page 157. 

Although every computer network you use and file transfer you 
try will, at first, take a bit of fiddling with the terminal program 
before you get your connections right, don't be daunted: it's 
becoming easier. Programs are finally emerging (like 
SMARTCOM for the Macintosh, p. 153) that make 
telecommunicating a human activity instead of a technical 
obstacle course. Modems are getting much cheaper and more 
reliable. And the networks themselves become more plentiful, 
reliable, and innovative every week. The more people use these 
tools, the better they'll get. 

Still the best guide . . 

The Complete 
Handbook ol Personal 
Alfred Glossbrenner; 
1985, 512 pp.; $14.95 
postpaid from St. 
Martin's Press, 175 
Fiftti Avenue, New 
York, NY 10010; 
212/674-5151; or 



J" . ^ 

ART KLEINER: This book covers much of the 
telecommunicating lore that nobody tells you 
about unless you know what to ask: how to 
compare networks, how to find the particular 
conference you need, how to connect your 
computer to someone else's typesetting 
equipment or directly to another computer. 

Glossbrenner's massively updated new 
edition describes all sorts of networks and 
innovations that weren't even conceived of 
three years ago when the first edition came 
out. There's also a new and wonderfully 
comprehensible explanation of the technical 
esoterica of networking. Like all of Alfred's 
books, this one resounds with enthusiasm 
and clarity. Telecommunicating is the best 
way to get good, free, public-domain and 
user-supported software hot off the 
programmers' hands. A second Glossbrenner 
book, How to Get Free Software (p. 27), 
is the best guide around. 


ALFRED GLOSSBRENNER: With all of the hype and publicity you're likely to 
hear, it's important to remember that home banking is barely in its infancy. It 
has a long way to go before it becomes widespread, and there are sure to be 
bugs and kinks along the way. Here are the most important questions to ask: 

1 . How many creditors can I pay automatically? By far the most crucial 
question. The only system so far capable of paying any and all creditors that 
you specify is Direct Access from Citibank in New York. Despite home-banking 
promoters' implications, with other banks, you can pay only those firms on the 
bank's list of pre-approved payees. If your local dry cleaner isn't on the list, it's 
back to the checkbook, stamp, and envelope routine. 

2. What hours is the system available? New York's Chemical and Citibank are 
online around the clock; HomeBanking from California's Bank of America is up 
from 6 a.m. to midnight (Pacific Time) only. 

3. What does the sign-on process involve? Security is an important concern, 
of course, but most home-banking programs use a system of multi-level 
passwords that appear to offer more than adequate protection. However, since 
at least one of these passwords is typically imbedded in the program disk the 
bank sends you when you open your account, you must use a system with a 
disk drive, which rules out many lap-size computers. The HomeBanking and 
Boston's Shawmut Bank (available via CompuServe) password schemes don't 
force you to use a special password disk with a unique imbedded password. 

4. What does it cost? Banks typically charge $8-$12 monthly for home banking 
in addition to other account fees; required minimum balances vary. Usually 
there is no per-check fee for electronic checks, but be sure to ask— some 
systems charge for both paper checks and electronic "checks." Network and 
phone costs depend on whether you call straight through using a local phone 
number (as with Citibank)— that's free— or go through CompuServe (Shawmut 
of Boston) or Tymnet (B of A and Chemical), and get charged by the hour. 

5. How will you get cash? Most home-banking programs accept nonlocal home 
banking customers, but it's preferable to "home bank" with a local bank. If 
that's not possible, you'll have to either keep a separate account in a convenient 
local bank to get cash, or request a supply of paper checks from your home- 
banking bank and find a local merchant who'll cash your checks. 



Name of 

Initial Charge 

Monthly Charge 

Connect Charge (Per Connected Hour) 

Charge Per 


Business Hours 

Evenings & Weekends 

300 BAUD 

1200 BAUD 

300 BAUD 

1200 BAUD 


pp.142, 144, 

(Includes five 
free hours) 







3500-31,000 per month for 

maintaining your own 



p. 147 

per group (2 or 
more members) 


minimum per 









p. 146 


$3.50/month for 
direct bill 






35/hr extra for 
2400 baud 

Dow Jones News/Retrieval pp.142, 144 
(Any member can choose one of three plans:) 






S48-372/hour extra 
for free-text search 




Blue Chip 

(3100 annual) 







332.40-372/hour extra 
for free-text search 









$32.40-$48/hour extra 
for free-text search 


p. 145 


$25/year or 

$25 monthly 






20(J per address, $2-$5 

per overseas 


2O0/min extra for 

signing on from remote 

locations via 

WATS lines. 

System (EIES) 

p. 147 








315/monthly (approx.) storage 

fees for each extra conference 

you create. 

Electronic Mail 
Service (lEMS) 

p. 145 

3100 ($50 per 

account. lEMS 

has a 2-account 


$5 per account 





250 per 1000 characters 

(a 250-word message 

costs 50C); $2-34 per 

overseas TELEX.-A- 


MCI Mail 

p. 145 







Per message: 45(J-31 

as electronic mail, $2 as first 

class mail, 38 and 

up as overnight mail 

or TELEX. 


The Source 

pp.141, 144, 
145, 146 


$10 ($1 fee plus 

$9 minimum 








310/monthly (approx). storage 

fees for each conference you 


* $2/hour surcharge if you use a different transmission network than CompuServe's own (will affect people in some small cities). 
■i^ Depends on whether the conference (SIG) includes extra text databases. 
-k TELEX rate depends on destination. 

ART KLEINER: This table shows relative costs for communication networks 
reviewed in this book. Typical users spend 5-15 hours a month online. Only 
services you would actually subscribe to are included here. Comp-U-Store, for 

instance, is available through three networks here— CompuServe, Dow Janes 
News/Retrieval, and The Source— plus its own. For addresses of the services, 
see the individual reviews. 

Inexpensive, interactive, grapliic, 
online fun . . . 

$40 initial subscription fee (includes 90 minutes 
of connect time); $2/hr., $6/month; 6 p.m. to 
7 a.m. locally weekdays, 24 hrs. weekends and 
holidays. Commodore 64. 1541 disk drive and 
300-tiaud compatible modem; color TV/monitor 
recommended. PlayNET, Inc., 200 Jordan Rd., 
Troy, NY 12180; 800/752-9638. 

ART KLEINER: A national computer network 
with no pretense of Serious Purpose, 
PLAYNET is unabashedly set up for casual 
talk and game-playing with other people who 
happen to be online at the moment. Some 
games are full-scale versions of chess, 
bridge, reversi (Othello), battleship, and the 
like; PLAYNET provides disks that put the 
image of, say, a chessboard onto your 
computer. When your opponent makes a 
move, you see the chess piece move on your 
screen. Other games are all text, taking place 
in impromptu message areas— there's an 

ongoing informal version, for instance, of 
Trivial Pursuit that's as much fun as the 
original. Even while playing a game, you can 
exchange taunts and congratulations in 
another window on the screen ("Why did 
you move your king THERE?"). 

PLAYNET's online/disk combination is 
sometimes clunky (especially on the 
Commodore, where it takes more than a 
minute for the slow C-64 disk drive to 
produce a chessboard screen). But it's the 
least expensive national network yet. 


Online discount sliopping . . . Source, or Dow Jones for the time you spe i! 

browsing online, plus an annual $25 

COIiP=U-STORE membership fee. 

$25/year membership; $18/hr (9-5 wkdays), $5/hr 
(eves & wkends), Comp-U-Card International, Inc., 
777 Summer Street, Stanford, CT 06901; 

ELIZABETH M. FERRARINI: If you know what 
you want, don't need to touch the item 
beforehand, and want to save time and a lot of 
money, then let your micro shop at Comp-U- 
Store for everything from hair dryers to 
computer printers (mostly computer 
equipment and the kinds of products sold in 
mainstream discount houses). Most Comp-U- 
Store goods are 20 to 40 percent below the 
manufacturer's price; you also pay regular 
connect charges to CompuServe, The 

Publish online 
and get paid for it . 

You shop for one item at a time, proceeding 
through a series of menus that usually offer 
several selections and a "no preference." 
Beware of "no preference": specific answers 
help Comp-U-Store narrow the search to find 
exactly what you want. When you're done, 
Comp-U-Store lists all the products that meet 
your specifications. You can then see any 
product's list price, manufacturer's name, 
delivered price (including shipping to your 
area and all taxes), available colors, and 
description. You can purchase any by credit 
card or check. Most items come via United 
Parcel Service, and you can only return 
merchandise that arrives defective or broken. 
For the moment, Comp-U-Store is the only 
national electronic buying service. Since new 
regional electronic buying services are 
constantly expanding, that could change any 

Comp-U-Store takes you through a series of 
questions that narrow down your desires, then 
shows you a menu of choices— in this case, for a 
cassette tape recorder/player 

Available at normal Source rates (see table, 
p. 140); Source Telecomputing Corporation, 1616 
Anderson Road, McLean, VA 22102; 

LEVI THOMAS: PUBLIC-a service within The 
Source— is the only place in computer 
networking where users publish their writing 
and get paid each time it's read. What you 
find there will vary in quality and intention; I 
found helpful information for navigating 
around the rest of The Source, plus 
entertaining stories such as "Published From 
a Bar-Stool: or. Saloon Journalism With the 
Model 100." My Great-Form-But-Too-Bad- 
About-the-Content award goes to a hillbilly- 
style newspaper called the Par Mt. 
Telegraph, containing cliche outhouse humor 
in an ingeniously interactive format, complete 
with comic strips. It takes very little time to 
learn PUBLIC'S ins and outs and sample the 
selections there. The table of contents for 
each publication features the reading time of 
each entry and the number of times it's been 
read (for those interested in what's hot 
among other Source users). But each 
publication has different commands, which 
confuses most readers, who see several 
publications in one session. I don't know why 
The Source doesn't require a common Help 
command from its user-publishers. 

PUBLIC is a great way to experiment with the 
format of computer communications. If you 
don't find anything that interests you there, 
why not write something yourself? Anyone 
can publish, but representatives of The 
Source must approve PUBLIC files before 
the author may collect a portion of readers' 
connect-time charges. 

ART KLEINER: There's some public-domain 
software on PUBLIC, but not as much as 
you'll find in CompuServe SIGs (pp. 27, 

Stalking the wild software publisher . . . 

$250 subscription fee (currently being waived), 
$40/hr.; available for any personal computer with 
communications software and a modem; One 
Point, 2835 Mitchell Dr., Walnut Creek, CA 
94598; 800/222-2250 or, in CA, 415/947-0850. 



$60/hr. (business hours) or $24/hr. (evenings and 
weekends); plus $.15/full record printed offline; 
for available evening and weekend hours refer to 
3460 Hillview Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94304; 

ART KLEINER: "I want to know which online 
databases can help locate software that fills 
a particular niche and find publishers of 
particular products," said Barbara 
Robertson. A legitimate reason to search 
online; software is especially hard to track 
down because printed catalogs date so 
quickly. After some research, I found two 
relatively good online databanks of 
microcomputer products. Since their 
contents overlap very little, I'd use both. 

ONE POINT is far easier to learn; its menus 
are designed to narrow down the desired 
specs to help you find a particular package. 
Unfortunately, the resulting listings are 
inconsistent: sometimes they go on for 
pages, even mentioning past reviews of the 
product in magazines; other times they tell 
little more than the publisher and price. ONE 
POINT concentrates on IBM PCs and 
compatibles, but I found products for CP/M, 
Apple III, and Macintosh there. Once you 

find a product, you can order it online. Since 
our demo account didn't permit ordering, I 
don't know how good their prices are. 

.MENU, which runs on the venerable 
DIALOG databank service and its much 
cheaper nighttime daughter KNOWLEDGE 
INDEX (p. 143), uses DIALOG'S relatively 
difficult commands. After a couple of 
concentrated hours, you can be proficient 
enough to search effectively. The listings, 
when you get them, are consistently 
complete. The service seemed particularly 
strong on Apple II software, but it covers all 
types of microcomputers. 

We were in Guaymas, Mexico, with a guy 
from Chicago. He was busy denigrating the 
area, "who could stand to live here, you 
wouldn't know anything about the world, It 
is so squalid, etc. " I was busy taking 
pictures of houses perhaps 25 feet square 
with a 1954 Chevy pickup In the driveway 
and a satellite dish on the root An area of 
perhaps 1,000 people, with about 50 satellite 
dishes! He said, "What do those dishes do 
anyway?" I said, "Well, these people can 
get 130 TV channels In five languages, and 
subcarrler FM stereo. They have Quebec, 
Venezuela, Mexico City all of America, BBC, 
and they get the Chicago Symphony as 
clearly as you do. " He was stunned. And 
silent for a while. And then he said, "What 
do they think when they see all that, and 
they look at this, where they live?" And i 
was silent, and Nan was silent, and he was 
silent. And I can't get rid of the notion that 
Scarcity and Abundance will have to be dealt 
with by the materialistic nations (today's 
equivalent of the monarchies that went down 
to democracy's force with the advent of the 
cheap printed word). —Charles House 


Best single source of financial news . 

Most diverse services at least expense . . . 

PATRICIA H. TAYLOR: Investors do 
three things: gather information (news, 
research, recommendations, and 
prices) to help them come to a 
decision; execute that decision (trade, 
order, buy or sell); and track the 
aftermath. Online services mesh 
naturally with the need to manage detail 
in all three of these tasks. 

In addition to the services listed below, 
investors might also look into 
NEWSNET (p. 145), 

Your phone is your computer . 



DowPhone: $.50/minute plus toll phone charges 
or, if using a WATS line, $1/minute; touch tone 
phone required; Dow Jones and Company, P.O. 
Box 300, Princeton, NJ 08540; 800/345-6397 ® 
SchwabQuotes: $20 subscription/year; 15 minute 
delay rates: $.05 ea/Rapid Quote; $.10 ea/ 
Expanded Quote; Dow Jones News, $.50/minute; 
stock list, $.50/valuation; Real-time rates: $18.50 
extra/month; touch tone phone required; local call 
service only available in San Francisco, 
Sunnyvale and Century City, CA; Chicago; New 
York World Trade Center and New York Biltmore 
Offices; Charles Schwab and Company, 101 
Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA 94104; 

PATRICIA H. TAYLOR: Now you can program 
your telephone to get 15-minute delayed 
stock quotes over the phone with 
DowPhone. Any number of portfolios, each 
containing up to 100 securities, can be 
created; you can then get quotes for each 
member of the portfolio, hear the latest 
hour's headlines, and access the Dow Jones 
News Service for the particular category of 
your interest. SchwabQuotes, an expansion 
of the basic DowPhone, has real-time quotes 
and costs a little more. 

Online investor's monthly bible 


$39/year (12 issues); Dealer's Digest, 150 
Broadway, New York, NY 10038; 212/227-1200. 

PATRICIA H. TAYLOR: Essential reading for 
anyone serious about online investing. 
Reviews range from online databases to 
software programs to latest industry 
developments. The reviews are well done 
and have saved me the time and tribulation 
of finding out a lot of important information 
on my own. 

Available at normal Dow Jones rates (see table, 
p. 140); Dow Jones News/Retrieval, P.O. Box 300, 
Princeton, NJ 08540; 800/257-5114 or, in NJ, 

FERRARINI: The industry standard. Quotes 
from DJNS news scroll across the screens of 
investment brokers and managers all day 
long. Within fifteen minutes of the latest 
transaction, quotes on common and 
preferred stocks, composite options, and 
corporate and foreign bonds arrive from a 
variety of exchanges; quotes from mutual 
funds and selected U.S. Treasury Bonds are 
updated several times a day. A database of 
historical quotes goes back to 1978. Dow 
Jones' tracking service lets you create five 
investor profiles and track news and stock 
quotes for as many as 25 companies within 
each profile. The service is easy to use if you 
keep a list handy of Dow Jones' 
abbreviations for the particular stocks you 
have in mind. 

ART KLEINER: Other services available 
through Dow Jones (often at extra cost) 
include: Media General, which has statistics 
on corporate earnings, dividends, and 
comparative stock performance, and 
Disclosure, which has balance sheets and 
directors' names for more than 6000 
corporations. Sometimes you can get lower 
rates by directly accessing the parent 
company (known in the trade as the 
"information provider"). 

No static at all . . . 


IBM PC and compatibles; 256K; not copy- 
protected; $549.95 plus monthly subscription 
charges: $50/month 1st exchange (non- 
professional), $80/month 1st exchange 
(professional); $10/additional exchange; $20/ 
stock option; plus exchange fees which range 
from $7.50 to $50 (non-professional users) or 
$12.50 to $68 (professional users); Dataspeed, 
1900 South Norfolk, San Mateo, CA 94403; 

PATRICIA H. TAYLOR: Modio is an FM-based 
quote receiver system that transmits current 
market quotes on securities, options, and 
commodities via FM airwaves for display on 
a computer screen. With this product, active 
traders have market-monitoring devices 
similar to those in brokerage firms, at 
substantial savings. Data can be transferred 
to other programs using special software. 
Quotes are transmitted from one of eleven 
stations covering the largest U.S. 
metropolitian areas, so check to see that 
you're within the broadcast zone. 

Available at normal CompuServe rates (see table, 
p. 140); CompuServe Information Service, 5000 
Arlington Centre Blvd., Columbus, OH 43220; 
800/848-8199 or, in OH, 614/457-0802. 

PATRICIA H. TAYLOR: The Volkswagen of 
investment services. You'll find: Market 
News Service for interest-rate markets and 
international news; Commodities News 
Service, the industry standard; excellent 
weekly reports from Money Market Services 
(MMS) reflecting money managers' forecasts 
for the economy, interest rates, and foreign 
exchange; "Ask Mr. Fed," a "SIG" 
(discussion forum) where investors ask 
questions about the MMS reports or the 
economy as a whole; and MicroQuote for 
quotes on stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and 
options at very cheap rates. 

CompuServe also has an arrangement with 
Max Ule and Company for online discount 
brokerage. You get overnight computerized 
order-entry, but no portfolio-tracking 
capabilities. For additional fees CompuServe 
provides portfolio evaluation, market 
highlights, forecasts, and online programs 
for financial modeling and planning. 

Research, buy, analyze and gloat 
— all in one package . . . 

$199 (includes up to $168.50 in free services); 
news and quotes, normal Dow Jones rates; 
company reports, $3.50 each plus network use 
charge; Standard & Poor's Marketscope, $36/ 
annual subscription plus $1.50/15 pages viewed, 
plus network use charge; Charles Schwab and 
Company, 101 Montgomery, San Francisco, CA 
94104; 800/334-4455. 

PATRICIA H. TAYLOR: This software/online 
program provides easy access to Dow Jones 
and to the (not otherwise recommended 
here) Standard & Poor's Marketwatch 
service. Quotes are on a 15-minute delayed 
basis; real-time while making an order. You 
enter orders by filling out a "ticket" which 
zips through the Schwab computer to the 
floor of the appropriate exchange. The 
portfolio is updated each time a trade is 
made through Schwab, either via computer 
or telephone. The colorful, clean, menu- 
based program and the comprehensive 
package of online services are beautifully 
designed. The Electronic Accountant part of 
the program provides complete portfolio 
management, generating full reports for 
year-to-date gains/losses, transactions, and 
income accounts. Portfolios can include 
stocks, bonds, and options purchased 

The publications you'll need . . . 

Answers Online; Barbara Newlin; 1984; 373 pp., 
$16.95; Osborne McGraw-Hill, 2600 Tenth St., 
Berkeley, CA 94710; 415/548-2805; or COMPUTER 

ii RECTO iY 

Omni Online Database Directory; Mike Edelhart 
and Owen Davies; 1985, 324 pp.; $14.95; 
Macmillan Publishing Company, 866 Third 
Avenue, New York, NY 10022; 800/257-5755 or, in 
NJ, 609/461-6500; or COMPUTER LITERACY 


$36/year (12 issues); Modem Notes, 2921 South 
Brentwood Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63144; 

ART KLEINER: You can use your modem to 
find hitherto ungatherable information- 
stored online citations on topics from the 
location of toll bridges in Alaska to the 
names of minor government officials in 
Zanzibar. But you can't just log in and poke 
around— databanks charge by the minute, 
and you can hemorrhage your budget getting 
your feet wet. These three publications will 
help you narrow your search for the best 
databank to use. 

Answers Online is the best overall guide. It 
describes 50 of the databanks you're most 
likely to use, shows sample records for 
each, and includes a very nice chapter on 
searching techniques. 

The Omni Online Database Directory is 

more exhaustive, less hand-holding. It lists 
more than 1100 databanks, including quite a 
few compiled in foreign countries. The more 
specific and esoteric your needs, the greater 
chance you'll find this book valuable. It's 
riddled with comments from users, most of 
which describe surprisingly well what 
purpose a given databank serves. (Caution: 
a few minor factual errors are sprinkled 

Finally, Modem Notes is a monthly magazine 
aimed at businesspeople who do databank 
searching. It's the best affordable source of 
ongoing news about searching online. If you 
spend a significant part of your work time 
doing research, these three publications 
could change your life. 

Virtually every argument in every article 
against computer technology applies equally 
well, and often better, to the written word 
and its supporting technologies. 
—W. Scott Morris 


low-cost data searching . . 

Available Mon.-Fri. 6 p.m. (local)-4 a.m. (E.S.T); 
Sat. 6 a.m.-4 a.m.. Sun. 6 a.m.-2 p.m. and 
7 p.m.-4 a.m. (E.S.I); $75 initial charge; $12 
monthly minimum; $6-$25/hour, depending on 
which database is searched. Bibliographic 
Retrieval Service, 1200 Route 7, Latham, NY 
12110; 800/833-4707 or (in New York state) 

Available Mon.-Thurs. 6 p.m.-5 a.m., Fri. 6 p.m.- 
midnight. Sat. 8 a.m.-midnight. Sun. 3 p.m.-5 
a.m., all caller's local time. $35 initial charge; 
$24/hour. DIALOG, 3460 Hillview Ave., Palo Alto, 
CA 94304; 800/528-6050, ext. 415 or, in AZ, 
800/352-0458, ext. 415 or, in AK or HI, 800/528- 
0470, ext. 415. 

STEVEN LEVY: My first shock in 
telecomputing came when I realized that the 
Brave New World of getting information 
through your home computer did not yet exist 
for schlumps like me who aren't on some 
corporate tab. Though dozens of online 
databanks were available via modem— each 
derived from a bibliographic reference book 
like the Science Citation Index or Chemical 
Abstracts-they typically cost $75 or more 
per hour, and using them well requires 
training. Then along came BBS After Dark-a 
cheaper, evening-and-weekend version of its 
parent, the Bibliographic Retrieval Service. I 
hooked up, admittedly a little worried that it 
would offer only abstracts, not the full text of 
articles I'd need. 

One of my first searches was for information 
about the military-funded ARPAnet 
communications network. I had found very 
little in conventional libraries. Within five 
minutes (50 cents connect time), using the 
simple search function (BRS After Dark 
lobotomized the sophisticated commands 
used in its high-ticket day service), I 
discovered a 100-page report on the history of 
the ARPAnet. Its price wasn't listed, but the 
address of the research firm that prepared it 
was. I called them, and they sent it to me 
gratis. Never would have found it otherwise. 

The full story online . . . 


$84/online connect hour plus $7/full record 
printed offline or displayed online; DIALOG 
Information Services, Inc., 3460 Hillview Ave., 
Palo Alto, CA 94304; 800/227-1927 • Complete 
list of magazines available from Online Services, 
Information Access Co., 11 Davis Dr., Belmont, 
CA 94002; 800/227-8431. 

later tried BRS's competitor, Knowledge 
Index (child of DIALOG, the other main on- 
line data bank vendor). It had a great manual 
(clear without reverting to third-person- 
stupid, with sample sessions for each 
database) and more databases (hence more 
topics) than BRS After Dark. But it cost more. 

If you plan well, a typical search on either 
service costs as little as one or two dollars, 
especially if you hone the wording of your 
request. Prices will drop when the masses 
use these services, but if you need 
information now, sign up. 

Main complaint: neither allows you to search 
through all its databanks in one sweep. You 
have to hop in and out of menus, retyping 
your search strategy each time. (The daytime 
services let you store your search strategy 
online and check in every week or so to see 
what's new.) Even so, we're talking New Age 
bargain here. Highly recommended. You may 
never look at a card catalog again. 

TOPIC: Find books on using personal computers in business. 


^^ 5/16/83 14:31:46 EST 

Now in BOOKS (BOOK) Section 

Books in Print (1490-1983) (BOOKl) Database 

(Copyright 1983 R. R. Bowker Co.) 

^^ 5993 PERSONAL 




^-^ 15703 BUSINESS 


(4) ?DISPLAY S2 

^^ Display 2/L/l 

1075211 n^mnt 

Business Applications for the IBM Personal Computer 

Zimnerman, Steven; Conrad, Leo 


R J Brady 06/1983 

Trade $16.95 

ISBN: 0-89303-243-3 

Status: Active entry 


(5) ?LOGOFF 

^^ 5/16/83 14:32:44 EST 

Session Total: 0.021 Hours $ 0.50 User U400O3 

Knowledge Index has a clear, comprehensive 
manual; this excerpt shows how to reline your 
search in its database of Books in Print, which 
includes every available American published 


ART KLEINER: If you need to find a 
magazine story published in the last two 
years, this database can send its full text 

cascading down your screen— while other 
databanks on, say, Knowledge Index will just 
give you a citation and send you scrambling 
to a library to look it up. MAGAZINE ASAP 
is nowhere near as versatile and 
comprehensive as NEXIS, but it doesn't 
require its own special software package. It 
does require learning the relatively arcane 
commands used on DIALOG/Knowledge 
Index. A typical search on this service costs 
$25 to $50, even if you're careful (that price 
is still cheaper than NEXIS). Measure the 
cost against a day of your time in a research 




29 JUN 








Finding tlie clieapest fare from San Francisco to 
ELECTRONIC EDITION. First you enter tlie 
departure city, target city and date; then choose 
what type of ticket you want DAG shows you a list 
of fares; and (not shown) lets you expand any 
listing to find more information. 

Superb weather and sports . . 

Dial-Up Flight Information . . 

$50 initial cliarge; $.10/minute and $.10/unit (fare 
screen, 2 units; schedule screen, 3 units); Official 
Airline Guides, Attn: Electronic Edition, 2000 Clear 
Water Drive, Oak Brook, IL 60521; 800/323-3537. 

ART KLEINER: This dial-up databanl< permits 
you to browse among commercial airline 
fares and schedules as easily as you'd 
browse among shirts in a department store. 
You choose your departing city, arriving city, 
and date; see the available fares; check the 
limitations on each fare; print out the 
appropriate schedules; and make 
reservations online. A diligent travel agent 
might do more for free, but finding a good 
fare online will make you feel as triumphant 
as scoring well on a computer game. You can 
sample this database through CompuServe or 
Dow Jones News/Retrieval, but joining 
directly is much cheaper. 

History begins on Saturday . . . 

Available at normal Source rates (see table, 
p. 140); Source Telecomputing Corporation, 1616 
Anderson Road, McLean, VA 22102; 

ART KLEINER: The Source's service, based 
on the UP! news wire, lets you tag a 
particular topic and follow that day's stories 
about it, often while they're coming off the 
wire for the first time. You can look 
backwards about a week. While the news 
wire invites browsing, finding obscure topics 
is tricky. On the other hand, when there's a 
fast-breaking national or international news 
story that's important to you, and you want 
the news faster or in more detail than the 
daily paper will provide it, the Source UP! 
news wire is the place to turn. 

Top of the line magazine, 

newspaper and wire service data . 

Available at normal CompuServe rates (see table, 
p. 140); CompuServe Information Service, 5000 
Arlington Centre Blvd., Columbus, OH 43220; 
800/848-8199 or, in Ohio, 614/457-0802. 

ART KLEINER: CompuServe's news wire 
service only goes back one day, offering a few 
stories in each of a dozen or so categories. 
Though mediocre for news, it's the best place 
to find weather (superb land and maritime 
forecasts, keyed by locale, from the National 
Oceanographic and Atmospheric 
Administration) or sports results (Levy 
checks baseball box scores here). 

Four months of business news . 

Available at normal Dow Jones rates (see table, 
p. 140); Dow Jones News/Retrieval, P.O. Box 300, 
Princeton, NJ 08540; 800/257-5114 or (in New 
Jersey) 609/452-1511. 

ART KLEINER: Type in the code for a 
particular industry or corporation and scan a 
list of appropriate stories adapted from the 
Wall Street Journal going back four months. 
Choose the stories you want to read and they 
appear. You can make a search for particular 
words embedded within the stories, but it will 
cost extra and require a special manual. 
Nonetheless, Dow Jones is a good place to 
start research on any business-oriented 
topic. When I wrote about AT&T's new 
proposed computer network last fall, I 
depended on it. It's a good thing the service 
is so easy to use, because it offers almost no 
online help. 


Software for searchers . 

Version 1.03; IBM PC & compatibles ® Tl 
Professional; 192K; 2 disk drives; Hayes 300, 1200 
or 1200B Smartmodem or Novation 103, 212, 
Smartcat modem, or an acoustic modem; copy- 
protected? YES; $495; Menio Corporation, 4633 
Old Ironsides Drive, No. 400, Santa Clara, CA 
95050; 408/986-1200. 


Software is free; subscription fees: $5/month or 
$50/year; online charges based on rates of 
databases accessed; Hayes SmartLink II modem 
required; Business Computer Network, Inc., 1046 
Central Parkway So., San Antonio, TX 78232; 

DIALOG'S arcane commands into reasonable 
menus, helps you figure out which 
databanks to search, and saves money by 
letting you type in most of your request 
before you sign online. It's one of the most 
enjoyable telecommunications programs to 

With SUPERSCOUT instead of signing up 
with 20 different online information services, 
you sign up with the Business Computer 
Network: their software will dial the networks 
for you anytime, and bill you at the 
network's regular rates plus a quarter (25 
cents) for each call. The networks include 
CompuServe, BRS, DIALOG, NewsNet, and 
the Official Airline Guides; they're constantly 
adding more. An excellent way to use 
databanks occasionally without paying 
membership fees for each. 

$50/mo, $28/hour, $7-$21/each search request 
(7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m., local time, wkdays), 
$3.50-$10.50/request (eves and wkends), 
$1.50-$3/search modification; IBM PC; Apple III; 
Wang PC; Macintosh; many MS-DOS machines; 
64K; a variety of 1200-baud modems; and Mead 
Data Central Interface ($245); copy-protected? NO; 
Mead Data Central, 9333 Springboro Pike, 
Miamisburg, OH 45342; or R 0. Box 933, Dayton, 
OH 45401; 513/865-6800. 

ART KLEINER: If you spend $2500 or more 
worth of your time annually in library work, 
NEXIS is the best single tool to invest in. 

NEXIS keeps the full text of dozens of 
newspapers, magazines, specialized 
newsletters, and news wires, most going 
back several years, some to the late sixties: 
the New York Times and the Washington 
Post; the AP, UPI and Reuters wires; news 
services from Japan, Taiwan, and Britain; 
Forbes, Computerworld, and the Almanac of 
American Politics. (It has fewer newsletters 
than NewsNet, and no computer-oriented 
ones, but that will probably change.) 

NEXIS is the smartest online information 
service, and the easiest to learn and use. 
Unlike the others, if you ask for "fortune 
telling" It will also find "telling fortunes." You 
can easily modify your request if it didn't hit 
right the first time. You can search all 
databanks simultaneously or move among 
them, your search request moving 
automatically with you. The best feature, 
called KWIC, pulls up each story with your 
search words highlighted within it, so you can 
instantly judge the story's value. 

NEXIS has some limitations: You can't save 
incoming text on a disk, and can only print 
one screenful at a time, which slows down 
your sessions by a third. And even if you 
share an account, it's expensive. But worth it. 


Two to three years' worth 
of expensive newsletters . . . 

Rates vary depending on which newsletters are 
read: $24-$120/hr (8 p.m., E.S.T.). 
$18-$80/hr (eves and wkends); $15 monthly 
subscription fee; average session: $40. NewsNet, 
945 Haverford Road, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010; 
800/345-1301 or (in Pennsylvania) 215/527-8030. 

ART KLEINER: NewsNet outrages me, just as 
many of its industry newsletters do: they're 
all too damned expensive, and only add to the 
cultish mystique of inside access. But these 
publications do help track specialized news, 
and they're cheaper and more current online 
than in print. The selection includes Defense 
Industry Report, Legislative Intelligence 
Week, Fiber Optics News, Entrepreneurial 
Manager's Newsletter, TRW Credit Reports 

on Companies, and VuQuote. Many go back 
two or three years. NewsNet's easy-to-use 
commands let you find articles by scanning 
titles or searching for key words. The best 
feature, called Flash, flags everything that 
comes in related to a particular topic and 
delivers it daily to your account. Use their On- 
line Computer Telephone Directory to find 
someone's TELEX or SourceMail number. 

Imtmm Mm 

Pay by the minute . 

Available at normal Source rates (see table, 
p. 140); Source Telecomputing Corporation, 1616 
Anderson Road, McLean, VA 22102; 

ART KLEINER: The oldest electronic mail 
system for personal computers is still the 
most versatile. As with MCI Mail, with 
SourceMail you can learn to send and receive 
messages within minutes. You pay by the 
minute, but there's no extra charge for 
multiple copies. To cut costs, type messages 
on your word processor and then send them 
with your communications software. 
SourceMail offers a wide range of alternatives 
—you can reply to messages as you read 
them, send copies to other people, keep lists 
of groups who will all get one message, or 
"express mail" your message so it goes to 
the front of the receiver's incoming queue. 

Low-cost access to TELEX. . . 

See table on p. 140 for rates; EASYLINK, c/o 
Western Union, 1 Lake Street, Upper Saddle River, 
NJ 07458; 800/527-5184 or, in TX, 800/442-4803. 

See table on p. 140 for rates; International 
Electronic Mail Service, 21686 Stevens Creek 
Blvd., Cupertino, CA 95014; 408/446-4367. 

ART KLEINER: Some of your would-be 
electronic mail correspondents may be 
reachable only via corporate mail systems— 
Tymshare's OnTyme, ITT's Dialcom, and the 
three or four interwoven international TELEX 
services. Corporations can afford the hefty 
minimum fees, but the rest of us can now link 
in through these two networks, which bundle 
their members into one "corporate" account 
on each service, like a group chartering an 
airplane. Western Union's EASYLINK is also 
the only way to send your computer text as a 

MCI Mai 

The nation s new postal system 

Lyn Grey 

Whole Earth Software Catalog 
150 Gate Five Road 
Sausalito, CA 94966 

Dear Lya, You know there are 30 many ears listening 

whenever we speak at Whole Earth, that I must resort to 

this -- this — Electronic Mail Message! — to fully say 
what I need to say to you . 

I want you to know that this message you hold in your 
hand is our test of the ability to send anyone a letter 
via electronic mail If we were paying for this letter. 
it would've cost us $2, Cheap, huh? 

But we aren't paying for this letter. That's why, as a 
part of this test, I'd very much like for you to let me know 
when it arrives And if you do that I will proudly 
display my pride 

I dunno I've lost my head. This test message is almost ovej 
Before it ends I will tell you the story of the 
red fox who wanted a brown box for his birthday 
At the end of the day, he opened the box, and out popped 

Hell, gotta go 
Please let me 31 

how electronic mail Is 
■n you get it. Yours, ArtK 


Art Kieiner/Hhole Earth 
Whole Earth Software Catalog 
150 Gate Five Road 
Sausalito CA 94965 



First Glass 

Lyn Grey 

Whole Earth Software ( 
150 Gate Five Road 
Sausalito, CA 9<%6 

A typical letter sent on MCI Mail: written and 
telecommunicated on a personal computer, 
printed out in MCl's offices in a remote city, and 
delivered as a local letter through regular first 
class mail. For an extra $10/month, you can store 
your letterhead and signature with MCI, and, with 
their laser printer, they'll print them on each letter 

telegram, and the cheapest way to send or 
receive TELEXes. At a reasonable cost to you, 
lEMS links to as many corporate mail 
networks as it can find. 

EASYLINK has easy commands and one of 
the best manuals in the business. It lets you 
forward incoming messages to others with 
your own comments attached, and tag your 
sessions so that several users can share the 
same account. Unfortunately, it won't let you 
edit a mistake in a message before you send 
it. lEMS permits editing, but uses (3nTyme's 
arduous commands (for instructions, you 
type EXE * * HELP instead of just ? or help). 

Instant delivery, online or on paper . . 

See table on p. 140 for rates; MCI Mail, 2000 M 
Street, N.W., Third Floor, Washington, DC 20036; 

ART KLEINER: Everyone with a computer 
and modem should join MCI Mail, it costs 
only SI 8 a year, and doesn't charge you for 
time online. For 45 cents you can send a 
message to anyone else with an MCI Mail 
account; for $1 you can send a document 
online; for $2, MCI will print your message 
on paper and drop it off as regular first class 
mail. (Warning: in my experience, this can 
sometimes be slower than first class mail.) 
Higher rates ensure hand-dfelivery; for a 
short manuscript that must be across the 
country tomorrow, MCI Mail is probably the 
cheapest (S8) overnight delivery service. 
MCI Mail made possible a business I know 
of (Taramar, in Sausalito, CA) that sends 
discarded U.S. industrial products to third- 
world countries, coordinating scavengers, 
industries, and freight airlines on four 

I sent MCI Mail successfully two minutes 
after signing on the first time. Now, I wish I 
could shut off its clunky menus. It also 
needs a better directory. As with other 
electronic mail networks, you can send the 
same message to twelve people as easily as 
one, but be wary: MCI Mail will charge for 
twelve letters! These caveats aside, MCl's 
pricing scheme really does make this the 
most likely place to find anyone by electronic 


drive" type problems. That's fine, I guess if you heavily 
enjoy rapping on computers endlessly, but it got quickly 
boring. ...Richard 

CB66 CC251 Richard Dal ton (wesc ed,334) 2/15/84 9:45 
fih L : 6 

C866 CC252 Anthony D. Fanning (TonyF,160B) 

4:46 PM L:7 



BBS's can follow the WALKIE-TALKIE pattern. You know, with 
the two ten-year — olds walking down opposite sides of the 
street saying, "Can you hear me?" . . . "Yeah , can you hear 
me?". . . . "Yeah, can you hear ME?" I see it a lot the day 
after Christmas. On the other hand, you can find useful 
information on BBS's (if you're interested in computers, 
that is). 

Ce66 CC252 Anthony D. Fanning (TonyF,160a> 2/15/84 
4:46 PM L:7 

C866 CC253 Larry Freeman (LarryF , 1218) 2/15/84 7:01 PM 

L: 13 

On Monday, I stopped in to my "friendly" local computer 
store and sat down to play the piano, I mean I sat down in 

A new kind of conwersalion . 

ART KLEINER: Exchanging electronic mail among a group of 
people is like holding a seminar in a corridor— there's no 
centralized space where people know they should congregate. A 
computerized conference, on the other hand, supplies a focus: it 
maintains a transcript that keeps track of everybody's place and 
shows them new material automatically. Use conferencing to 
share research, to coordinate an ongoing project spread across 
the country, or to investigate new interests. 

To find a local conferencing system in your area, use The 
Computer Phone Book (p. 148). Or set up your own system on a 
microcomputer and leave it hooked to the phone all day (see 
COMMUNITREE and MIST + , pp. 148-149). Or join established 
conferences on dial-up national computer networks. We list four 
national networks here, all somewhat complex but worth the 
time and money to explore. 

Wit and wisdom from EIES teleconference 
discussions. Tire Builetin Board Systems remarl( is 
by Organizing Domain editor Fanning in Viltiole 
Eartlt's pubiic conference on telecommunicating. 
The Lebanon comment, made just after the marine 
barracks fiasco in '83, is from a private set of 
conferences called the School of Management and 
Strategic Studies, run by the Western Behavioral 
Sciences institute in La Jolla, California. Harlan 
Cleveland made this particular comment from 
l^inneapolis, where he is director of the Hubert 
Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the 
University of Minnesota. 

C349 CC872 Harlan Cleveland <4B1) 
A: 871 

10/27/83 11:50 PM Ls 44 

In the 1960s those of us involved in fashioning 
peacekeeping forces (mostly through the UN, at that time) 
had one simple notion engraved on our minds: Superpower 
forces had best not be used «is international peacekeepers, 
and sparingly even as mediators. 

If the mediator or peacekeeper shows up at the bargaining 
sessions with a nuclear bomb sticking out of his r&Ar pocket, 
the disputants are going to tune their antennae toward the 
middleperson rather than toward dialogue with each other. 
The U.S. as peacekeeper cannot be credibly neutral. 

A giant information 
department store 

Available at normal CompuServe rates (see table, 
p. 140); CompuServe Information Service, 5000 
Arlington Centre Blvd., Columbus, OH 43220; 
800/848-8199 or (in Ohio) 614/457-0802. 



See table on p. 140 for rates; General Videotex 
Corporation, 3 Blackstone St., Cambridge, MA 
02139; 617/491-3393. 

ART KLEINER: The best nationwide systems 
for beginners. CompuServe's SIGs (user 
forums) are easily its most rewarding 
feature. The several-dozen SIGs on specific 
topics are like benevolent fiefdoms, each 
with a presiding duke (called a sysop, for 
"system operator") who manages the flow. 
Each SIG weaves up to eleven thematic 
threads; members choose which to follow. 
A beginner's menu makes the fairly complex 
commands masterable after an hour or so. 
Regular users should switch to the expert 
menu and buy the SIG manual ($3.95 extra). 

SIG topics include every type of computer 
users' group imaginable plus environmental 
issues, health, music, religion, animal care, 
and working at home. Whole Earth manages 
a SIG on CompuServe (type go wec), as do 
several other magazines. 

The main SIG drawback: CompuServe only 
stores about 400 messages' worth of back 
discussion, so on an active SIG like the 
Apple Users' group, yesterday's discussion 
may already have "scrolled away" when 
you log in today. Sysops will often store 
discussions in permanent data libraries 
which are also used to house public-domain 
software (p. 27). You can gather those free 
programs with CompuServe's own VIDTEX 
(p. 153) or any program running XMODEM 
(p. 156). 

DELPHI is just cranking up its conferencing 
system (called "Newsletters") now, so it's 
hard to evaluate; by the time you read this it 
will probably be fairly lively. Commands are 
much less flexible than CompuServe's, but 
easier to learn. The system response feels 
slow at times, but for people using 1200- 
baud modems it's cheaper than 

Dozens of subjects 

—or create your own . . . 

Available at normal Source rates (see table, 
p. 140); Source Telecomputing Corporation, 
1616 Anderson Road, McLean, VA 22102; 
800/336-3366 or, in VA, 703/734-7500. 

LOUIS JAFFE: The most freewheeling of 
computer conferencing services, PARTI 
allows any user to start a public or private 
conference on any topic at any time. Despite 
frequent technical problems and a command 
structure that baffles even old hands, PARTI 
has become one of the most popular 
branches of The Source. 

Both the 1983 Korean Airliner attack and the 
Grenada invasion spawned PARTI 
conferences that attracted hundreds of 
comments— some from well-informed 
military and intelligence people. These 
discussions subsided after a couple of weeks, 

but other PARTI conferences have gone on for 
months, on topics as diverse as UNIX, 
interpersonal relationships, and the nature of 


Scanning PARTI is like watching TV 
commercials— you find a jumble of briefly 
presented, often unrelated topics. As new 
conferences branch spontaneously from old 
ones, you can get pulled into the flow and 
lose track of time (which is how PARTI 
generates revenue for The Source). It's as if 
you were lost in the aisles of a giant 
information department store. By the time 
you find your way out, you're carrying a 
shopping bag full of ideas, assertions, and 

ART KLEINER: Source PARTI is sometimes 
used for "electures"— where knowledgeable 
people share their cogency online and suffer 
the heckling of the electronic crowd. Well 
worth following. 

For connoisseurs and companies . 

See table on p. 140 for rates; Advertel 
Communications Systems, Inc., 2067 Ascot, 
Ann Arbor, Ml 48103; 313/665-2612. 

See table on p. 140 for rates; New Jersey Institute 
of Technology, 323 King Blvd., Newark, NJ 07102; 

ART KLEINER: These are the best 
conferencing systems for organizing projects 
or bringing together working groups of 
people. Both rooted in academia (the 
University of Michigan and New Jersey, 
Institute of Technology, respectively), they 
have a wide range of complex capabilities. 
Both offer a diverse, warm community of 
people already in place who welcome new 
members. CONFER II is somewhat easier to 
learn and slightly more expensive; EIES is 
somewhat more perplexing (no one, not even 
designer Murray Turoff, knows all the EIES 

Both systems have features that really help 
people communicate. Detailed member 
directories let you learn more about the 
author of an intriguing comment before you 
contact him for follow-up. Pseudonyms 
permit anonymous comments (surprisingly 
useful for honest criticism). Elaborate search 
commands retrieve all items written by a 
particular author, in a particular month, or on 
a particular topic. Modifying commands let 
you change your mind, even after entering 
your words into public view. 

CONFER II is available in customized versions 
for large groups and corporations. If you join 
as a small working group or individual, you 
choose an existing CONFER II arena, either 

First there's uncertainty: "Did my message go through all right? Did I send it to 
the wrong person? Is it really private? How do i sign o/fthis thing?" 

As you feel more secure, pleasure takes over. The flow of ideas is exciting and 
flattering. "1 posted my query at ten and by noon there were seven replies 
waiting!" You step into the rarefied atmosphere of a literary correspondence— 
but one faster, more immediately engaging, and easier to keep up with than that 
of the conventional world of letters. Mutual projects and opportunities blossom 
quickly, without regard for geographical distances. 

Some people move on to addiction: signing on a dozen times a day ("maybe 
something is waiting"), cutting back offline relationships because they're less 
convenient ("if they're not on the network I don't want to talk to them"), 
running up unexpectedly large connect-time bills, merging work and home lives 
so they can sign on at night, and even dreaming about the network. 

Fortunately, addiction is short-lived. You get overwhelmed by overload and cut 
back, learning to filter out material. You don't have to lose appreciation for the 
physical world; you can become more sensual elsewhere to compensate for the 
hours spent online. You use the telephone more sparingly, scheduling calls and 
exchanging agendas in advance. 

Networking is catnip for people who communicate best by the written word. 
Good writers have charisma. Mediocre writers improve. Pushy or insensitive 
writers get ignored. People learn to articulate their emotions more explicitly to 
avoid being misunderstood. Race, gender, shyness, disabilities, age, and 
physical presence all lose importance. 

Since you don't need an appointment to reach someone via computer network, 
you come to feel as if everyone is always accessible. But you also learn not to 
pressure people— they'll just shrug and ignore your message. For most 
participants, the increased contacts break down old hierarchies and make 
unforeseen relationships possible— as with the corporation vice-president and 
the college student who swap tips on playing ARCHON. The key impression is 
one of civilization— or, more precisely, a new way of being civilized. 

—Art Kleiner 

public or private. Public conferences are 
usually devoted to a broad subject like 
Computers or Law; within that, people initiate 
and respond to individual topics. You can join 
in as many arenas as you like, but be careful; 
CONFER II incites more give-and-take than 
any other system, and you may feel like 
you're drowning at first. With practice, you 
can easily choose which topics to follow and 
which to avoid. 

As a nonprofit computer-based 
teleconferencing laboratory, EIES feels to its 
members like an online village, encouraging 
them to mingle messages with as many 
others as possible. One of ElES's main 
attractions is its unusually creative and 
knowledgeable membership.Though ElES's 
commands often feel tacked-on, its basic 
structure is simple enough. Both EIES and 
CONFER II are roughly masterable within a 
couple of hours. 

The two systems charge differently but seem 
to cost about the same over a year. ElES's 
connect time rates are low, but accounts cost 
$75 per month. CONFER II has no monthly 
fee, but charges $15-25 per connect hour, 
making it better for casual use. Ultimately, 
your choice will depend on which system has 
the people you want to reach. I'm 
unabashedly biased towards EIES; we 
organized the Software Catalog, met many of 
our best contributors, and still share software 
evaluations there. After experimenting with 
CONFER II, I feel strongly drawn there, too. 
Had I but modem enough and time . . . 




M low-pticed alternatiwe to national networks 

Public domain gateway to a bulietin board 
network . . . 

Good overall BBS directories . . . 

The Computer Phone Book; Mike Cane; 1983; 466 
pp.; $9.95 postpaid from The New American 
Library, Inc., 1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019; 
212/397-8000; or COMPUTER LITERACY 


Online Guide to the Commodore 64; Mike Cane; 
1984; 384 pp., $9.95; New American Library, Inc. 
1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019; 
212/397-8156; or COMPUTER LITERACY 

ART KLEINER: These detailed directories are 
the work of a madman named Mike Cane, 
who actually called more than 2000 
computer bulletin boards, of which he 
describes hundreds. When they bore him, he 
tells you ("There is nothing interesting on 

DEffi Mm mmmm 

here. If you call this system, try to leave an 
interesting message"). When they enthrall 
him, he shows it ("If you stare at the stars 
and long to go into orbit, give this system a 
call to meet some kindred spirits"). The 
Computer Phone Book contains an excellent 
guide to bulletin board commands, and to 
CompuServe, The Source, Dow Jones, and 
several fascinating-sounding regional 

The Online Guide to the Commodore 64 is a 

version of the same book, tailored to that 
machine. Particularly valuable: directions for 
signing onto Commodore-based bulletin 
boards, where you can download software 
and vent your frustra— er, share advice on 
using your C-64. Both books need 
updating — many of the most enticing- 
sounding boards are long since gone. But 
you can supplement this guide with PLUMB 
and COMPUTER SHOPPER (p. 11). 

ART KLEINER: Saving money and keeping in touch with your nearby 
community — two reasons to dial local computer networks instead of national 
ones like CompuServe and The Source. The best-known local sytems are 
computer bulletin board systems (BBSs)— running on microcomputers, often 
free or available for a small entry fee, linked loosely by a common heritage of 
public-domain hacker anarchy. The first bulletin board, CBBS, was specifically 
designed for distributing public-domain software. Though bulletin boards 
sometimes have more sophisticated messaging features than their mainframe 
cousins, they're limited by the small computer size to one user at a time — 
which means that on popular bulletin boards, you often get shut out by a busy 
signal— and since they're often managed by hobbyists, some bulletin boards 
come and go unreliably. 

This year an alternative is emerging— local multi-user conferencing networks, 
able to handle eight or more people online at once, and much less expensive 
than national networks (you don't have to pay cross-country transmission 
costs). So far I know of four worth checking out: ArborNet in Ann Arbor, 
Michigan (voice: 313/994-4030; data: 313/663-6400); Chariot in Colorado 
Springs, Colorado (voice: 303/632-4848; data: 303/632-2906); The Connection, 
in South Bend, Indiana (voice: 219/277-5306; data: 219/277-5743); and our 
own Whole Earth Lectronic Link in the San Francisco Bay Area (voice: 
415/332-4335; data: 415/332-6106). The costs range from $2 to $4 per hour, 
sometimes with a small monthly or yearly charge. The range of conferences and 
information online is impressive, and the overall tone is warm and welcoming. 
Many more will bloom, and I suspect some will become true regional nerve 

If you'd like to start one, you need a minicomputer or multi-user micro running 
UNIX (see p. 168). Chariot manager Louis Jaffe investigated most of the 
available software and ended up recommending PICOSPAN, which is available 
from Network Technologies in Ann Arbor (it's a variation of CONFER, p. 147). If 
thirty thousand dollars or more (that's the minimum investment) is beyond your 
range, you can still dedicate a personal computer to your own electronic bulletin 
board and, with FIDO, have something in between. 

Tom Jennings; free (downloaded); $100 (by mail); 
IBM PC and compatibles; Tom Jennings, 2269 
Market St. #118, San Francisco, CA 94114. 

EZRA SHAPIRO: FIDO is a collection of 
public domain software programs that allow 
a user to set up a full electronic bulletin 
board system on any of several MS-DOS 
computers. On the surface, FIDO looks a lot 
like similar systems— callers can send and 
receive messages, or upload and download 
files. However, FIDO goes far beyond other 
BBS software in one important aspect . . . 
late at night, with no human intervention, the 
FIDO systems send mail to each other. Thus 
it's possible for a caller to enter a message 
for a friend in New York on a FIDO in 
California; in the early hours of the morning 
the California FIDO will zap the message 
across the country to a FIDO in New York 
where it can be read by the addressee. A 
typical message costs the sender about 25 
cents. (Compare that to the prices charged 
for overnight delivery by commercial 
systems.) At present, there are around half a 
dozen FIDO systems in the San Francisco 
Bay Area and roughly 250 others in the U.S., 
Canada, England, Sweden, and Indonesia. 
The list of systems, or "nodes," is growing 
by about 12-15 a week. This whole thing is a 
volunteer, grass-roots operation. There are 
no membership fees or minimum charges; 
all you have to do is work out some way of 
paying the local system operators for any 
long-distance charges you incur. (The FIDO 
you're logged onto figures out the cost and 
tells you immediately.) Or you can just call in 
and use a FIDO as a standard BBS, without 
using the mail feature, for free. 

Choice software for groups . . . 

Apple II family; 48K; 1-6 disk drives; Hayes 
Micromodem II @ TRS-80 Model III, 48K, TRS-80 
modem; $145 ® IBM PC with Hayes-compatible 
modem and hard disk; $295; copy-protected? NO; 
CommuniTree Group, 1150 Bryant Street, San 
Francisco, CA 94103; 415/861-8733; distributed by 
Synergetic Communication, P.O. Box 9964, 
Berkeley, CA 94709; 415/548-8170. 

RIC MANNING: Because CommuniTree's 
system can pack a lot of messages into only 
48K of memory and can handle a variety of 
"branches" within one "tree" discussion, it's 
ideal for organizations. A Minnesota medical 
group, for example, divides their 
COMMUNITREE bulletin board by specialities 
such as surgery, radiology and immunology 
Callers append new comments to existing 
messages and thus build ongoing 
computerized discussions for each topic. At 
first the software is slightly intimidating, but 
once you're familiar with the full-word 
commands, it's easy to use. 


Write your own communications 
structures . . . 


Peter & Trudy Johnson-Lenz; IBM PC; 256K; 
Hayes-compatible 1200 baud modem; hard disk 
recommended; $495 w/database • Kaypro or 
Vector; CP/M; 64K; Hayes-compatible 1200 baud 
modem; 2 disk drives or hard disk; $375 w/ 
database; copy-protected? NO; New Era 
Technologies, 1252 Columbia Rd. N.W., 
Washington, DC 20009; 202/234-2117. 


Version 1.2; copy-protected? NO; $624 (includes 
MIST+); $129 (purchased separately as a 
template for MIST+). Requirements: IVIIST + 
version 1.3, 256K, Hayes compatible modem, 
hard disk; New Era Technologies, 1252 Columbia 
Rd., NW, Washington, D.C. 20009; 202/234-2117. 

ART KLEINER: MIST contains a full 
programming language with specifications 
for telecommunicating; a database system 
nearly as extensive as DBASE II; and a 
complete (albeit line-oriented) text editor. 
With l\^ISX you can build your own 
conferencing system that has a built-in 
databank anyone can dial into and search 
through. You can also create an easy-to-use 
"front end" for complicated network 
structures and a "networking robot" that 
boldly goes forth into online systems where 
no personal computer has gone before. 

The people who did MIST also did 
CONEXUS, a bulletin board/databank 
program written in MIST-t- . As bulletin 
board programs go, it's extremely versatile, 
very easy to set up and operate (more so 
than FIDO), and very expensive (much more 
so than FIDO). Modeled partly on the EIES 
network (p. 147), CONEXUS can keep track 
of where each member is in a particular 
online discussion (so you can tell who has 
and has not read your pearls of wisdom), 
and it allows anonymous or pen-named 

State ot the art . . . 

TRS-80 (NewDOS 80, LOOS, DOS + ); IBM PC and 
compatibles; Epson QX-10; Kaypro 2X, 10; $295; 
copy-protected? NO; eSoft, 4100 South Parker Rd. 
Box 305, Aurora, CO 80014; 303/699-6565. 

written by Phil Becker, is one of the few BBS 
that a nonprogrammer can operate. It does 
everything a BBS is expected to do and more, 
with unusually fast response time. The sysop 
can set up menus and submenus leading to 
any number of public or private message 
boards. There are four protocols for 
uploading or downloading software, 
including XMODEM (p. 156). 


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A lot of Commodore 64 users' clubs use ELECTRIC MAGAZINE for their own 
bulletin boards — it has messages and downloadable software. There's a public- 
domain version available on CompuServe, but the mail-order version is easier to 
get into shape. It uses the standard Commodore 1541 disk drive. However, my 
source (James Meehan, Mendota, MN) says the RAVICS BBS, though more 
expensive, is faster and easier to usethan ELECTRIC MAGAZINE. It's also more 
versatile. It works with an IEEE disk drive or a Hayes modem, in addition to 
stock Commodore hardware; supports multiple message bases and electronic 
mail; and its downloaded software is ready to run when it arrives on your 


The public-domain FORUM BBS is the best Atari board, with quicker response 
and more sophisticated command structure than our previous recommendation, 
AMIS. FORUM BBS is available on the CompuServe Atari SIG. 

Apple II 

NET-WORKS is the most popular of nearly a dozen Apple II bulletin board 
programs. It's a good, general purpose, bargain-priced BBS program, easy for 
both the system operator and callers to use. It's used by people with small 
bulletin boards running on single-drive Apples as well as on larger, hard disk- 
based systems like Pirate's Cove, which has more than 50 special interest 


RBBS is the cheapest bulletin board on the IBM PC (S8), but it's a good 

program, and you get a fair amount of documentation with it. 


There are dozens of Radio Shack Color Computer BBS systems running on 
COLOR-80. The program is reliable and includes a user log, handy for 
compiling mailing lists. 


MOUSE EXCHANGE runs on single-drive 128K MACs (but the author 
recommends a second drive); requires a Hayes-compatible modem. It's a 
straightforward bulletin board; supports XMODEM file transfer. No special Mac 
features, but it's the first for the Mac. 

— Ric Manning 

ELECTRIC MAGAZINE: Robert Shannon; CP/M {5Vi") or any Commodore: S39.95; Coast BBS, 33175 
Oceanview Dr., Fort Bragg, CA 95439; voice: 707/964-4440, data: 707/964-7114 o RAVICS BBS: 
$99.95; Computer Era, 206 S. Emerald, Anaheim, CA 92804; voice: 714/778-4858, data: 
714/533-3197 o NET-WORKS II: Nick Naimo; version 2.62; Apple II family; one disk drive; $99; High 
Technology Software Products, P.O. 3o:( 50406, Oklahoma City, OK 73148; 405/848-0480 o R8BS: 
$8; Capital PC Software Exchange, Box 5128, Silver Spring, MD 20906; data: 703/759-5049 (or 
9659) o COLOR-80 BBS: 64K; 2 disk drives and auto-answer modem; copy-protected? NO; $150; 
MegaSoft, 935 Marble Ct., San Jose, CA 95120; 408/268-9049 o MOUSE EXCHANGE: Michael 
Connick; version 4.0; copy-protected? NO; S39.95; Macintosh; 2 disk drives or hard disk 
recommended; Dreams of the Phoenix, Box 10273, Jacksonville, FL 32247; voice: 904/396-6952, 
data: 904/725-8925. 

mi'i -'^mms^vi^W 

Monttily bulletin-board updates . . . 


Ric Manning, Editor; $26.50/yr (8 issues); Box 
300, Harrods Creek, KY 40027; voice: 
502/228-3820; data Source: STQ007, 
CompuServe: 72715,210. 

STEVEN LEVY: Though many computer 
bulletin boards are technically oriented, I've 

come across a few that have little or nothing 
to do with computers. One of the first I tried 
was a New York City BBS devoted to 
astronomy (no astrology, please). Then there 
are lots of religious BBSs, plenty for dating, 
and a well-known one in Kansas with movie 
reviews. These and more are listed in this 
monthly newsletter, along with boards 
devoted to genealogy, rock and roll, ham 
radio, stocks, medicine, space, writing, 
jokes, and the occult. 

150 T 

Communications software 

IMnmlml Pmijmm§ 


Cheap software with a community of 
public-domain hacl<ers: JVIODEIVl? 
(p. 150) 
The best: MITE (p. 151) 


Inexpensive, flexible, dozens of 
versions and improvements: PC- 
TALK.III and QMODEM (p. 152) 

Spend lots of time conferencing? 
Create automated sequences: 

Run other programs while saving 
text to disk: RELAY (p. 150) 

The simplest: PFS:ACCESS (p. 151) 

High-budget, good for electronic 
(p. 154) 

Good, general-purpose programs: 
MITE {p. 151) and SMARTCOM II 
(p. 150) 

Apple II: 

Works with Pro-DOS, Apple's Super 
Serial card, and lie: APPLE ACCESS 
II (p. 152) 

The easiest: PFS:ACCESS (p. 151) 

Nice, general-purpose programs 
that use Apple DOS: PERSON-TO- 
PERSON (p. 152) and TERM EXEC 
(p. 152) 

Full-featured but difficult program 
that uses Apple DOS: ASCII 
(p. 152) 


The simplest and cheapest: PRETTY 

Lots of features, user support, and 
evolving capabilities for $40: RED 
RYDER (p. 153) 

The best: SMARTCOM II (p. 153) 

Other computers: 

Atari 800: AMODEM (p. 154) 

Commodore 64, PET: VIDTEX, 
(p. 153) 

The hacker's free standard . . 

Free • or $10/disk; The Public Domain Software 
Copying Company, 33 Gold Street, C-13, New York, 
NY 10038; 212/732-2565 • or $6/disk; SIG/M 
User's Group of ACG-NJ, P.O. Box 97, Iselin, NJ 
08830; voice 201/272-1793; or CBBS 215/398-3937 
• or $4-$12 plus $24 membership fee; FOG, P.O. 
Box 3474, Daly City, CA 94015-0474; voice: 

ART KLEINER: Bargain-priced (sometimes 
free), easy to use, hard to learn. Modifying 
this public-domain family is a great CP/M 
hacker tradition. The resulting hundreds of 
variations fall into two main "families": 
MDM7, designed around a menu; and MEX, 
completely command-driven (and specially 
adapted to CompuServe), with a built-in 
programming language of its own. 
Documentation ranges from meager to none; 
onscreen help is usually a cryptic list of one- 
key commands. 

Installing these programs may require some 
assembly-language hacking, so it's best to 
find one already installed for your type of 
computer— -through a friend or a users' 
group. (See "How to Get Free Software," 
p. 27). With any version you can call a 
local CP/M bulletin board (p. 148) or 
CompuServe's CP/M SIG (p. 146) and pull in 
newer versions— which might be only days 

rfte mam selection menu of SMARTCOM II along 
with the directory of built-in macros for dialing up 
many of the popular on-line services. To dial a 
network not included in the directory, just fill in a 
chart with prompts and replies. 

Almost dropped, but back 
by popular acclaim . . 

DEC Rainbow 100 © IBM PC/XT • Kaypro 2 • Xerox 
822; copy-protected? NO; $149; Hayes 
Microcomputer Products, 5923 Peachtree 
Industrial Blvd., Norcross, GA 30092; 

technical choices, and the mamjal and 
menus explain them so well that using the 
program is an easy-to-swallow basic 
telecommunications course in itself. The 
macro commands are particularly easy to set 
up. But there's a price: the menus make 
SMARTCOM II somewhat cumbersome to 
jump around in. SMARTCOM ll's best 
feature: it lets you scroll back to see 
something lost off the top of the screen. 
MITE on the PC and SMARTCOM II could 
profitably borrow features from each other 
The difference between them is a matter of 
personal taste. 


Pretty slick . . . 


Version 2.3; copy-protected? NO; $149; IBM PC/ 
XT/AT and compatibles; Wang Professional; Data 
General 1; 256K; VM Personal Computing, 6 
Germantown Rd., Danbury, CT 06810; 
800/222-8672 or, in CT, 203/798-6755. 

send and receive files at the same time . . . 
and print one to your printer simultaneously 
... and while all that is happening, chat 
with the person at the other end, on a split 
screen, both of you typing messages at 
once. You can set up RELAY to call 
automatically at a preset time (like when 
phone rates are lowest), execute a complex 
"script" of commands, and log off by itself. 
It can even send a script to another 
computer using RELAY that tells that 
computer to call yet another computer and 
execute another script and thus "relay" to 
itself ad infinitum. And, you can receive 
messages from a remote host while running 
another program. 

ART KLEINER: Relatively easy to leam. 
Almost as versatile a command language as 
CROSSTALK. Almost as intuitively clear a 
structure as MITE. More limited than it 
should be for uploading text. Unabashedly 
aimed at corporate types who need terminal 
emulation. Excels at file transfer (see p. 

None easier to use . . . 

Version C; IBM PC/XT/jr, compatibles except 
Hyperion (MS-DOS, modem, 128K); $140. Version 
A; Apple lie, lie (modem, 128K); $70; copy- 
protected, but can be installed on hard disk; 
Software Publishing Corporation, 1901 Landings 
Drive, Mountain View, CA 94043; 415/962-8910. 

ART KLEINER: If you want as little bother as 
possible, get PFS:ACCESS and be done with 
it. Like other PFS products, there's every 
essential feature and very little more. You 
create log-in commands by going through 
the motions once, and thereafter the 
program remembers what you did 
(TRANSEND PC COMPLETE, p. 154, does 
this too). Major limitation: you can save only 
eight log-on command sequences. Bulletin- 
board hoppers will be frustrated; file 
transferrers, who need an error-checking 
protocol, won't find one here. 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: It's a matter of 
style. I choose PFS:ACCESS over 
CROSSTALK because it's so easy— it's 
entirely function key and menu driven— 
nothing to learn, absolutely no commands to 
remember. I log on automatically to 
conferences in three networks and several 
bulletin boards and send files without any 
problem. Once in a conference, I can scroll 
backward through what's just zoomed by at 
1200 baud using the cursor arrow, PAGE UP 
and PAGE DOWN keys; then, by simply 
pressing a function key, print or save 
selected portions (text that's being saved is 
highlighted). With CROSSTALK'S macro 
commands, you set up automated 
sequences that save everything 
indiscriminately (once the text has 
disappeared from the screen, it's gone). You 
don't have to tend the process, but you 
often end up with a file full of garbage to be 
edited later. 

Our benchmark for CP/M and 
MS-DOS . . . 

8-bit CP/M or mm, $150; 16-bit CP/M, 
MS), $195; terminal emulation, $25 ® Macintosh, 
$145 (no terminal emulation available); copy- 
protected? NO; Mycroft Labs, RO. Box 6045, 
Tallahassee, FL 32314; 904/385-1141. 

ART KLEINER: Finding MITE was like sailing 
into safe harbor after a violent storm. Before 
I found it, I looked at a dozen other CP/M 
terminal programs. Some didn't work. 
Others took hours to install, or had no break 
key, or no automatic log-in commands. 
Some were just organized illogically, so it 
took constant concentration to use them. 

It's probably the most compatible terminal 
program in existence. You can meddle with 
(or ignore) a wide range of specs, filter out 
unwanted characters that might confuse your 
word processor, and customize the keys you 
use to operate MITE itself. MITE is organized 
so you can understand at a glance where to 
go next in the program. MITE also has one 
of the clearest manuals of any telecom 
program. On CP/M computers, no other 
terminal program I've seen comes close. On 
MS-DOS machines it's slightly less elegant, 
not taking complete advantage of the IBM PC 
function keys. 

miEs main menu. Each sutimenu in tlie bottom 
tialf allows you to customize different 
specifications. NIITE is more easily adaptable to 
various computers, modems, and networks than 
any other terminal program. 

Keeping it simple, PFSMCESS gives you one set- 
up screen with all the bare essentials. Automatic 
sign-on enters your first responses to the online 
service and logs you in. 

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Version 5; most CP/M and MS-DOS computers; 
Bell-compatible modems; copy-protected? NO; 
$195; Microstuf, Inc., 1000 Holcomb Woods Pkwy., 
Suite 440, Roswell, GA 30076; 404/998-3998. 

ART KLEINER: For experts who want their 
networking more fully automated than MITE 
can offer now. With two keystrokes 
CROSSTALK logs me on to CompuServe and 
our Whole Earth conference there; it asks 
whether I want to see new items or print out 
old messages for our library files; if I request 
old messages, it asks me which message I 
want to start at, collects them, saves them on 
disk, and logs off when it's done. It took 
about three hours to program this sequence; 
now it saves me hours every week. 
CROSSTALK also lets you preset the screen 
colors, so at a glance you can differentiate the 

text you receive from the text you send and 
from CROSSTALK'S own commands. (MITE 
does this too, but not as elegantly.) 
CROSSTALK versions 1 .0 and 2.0 are much 
less capable, and I don't recommend them. 

you to wade through vast levels of menus. 
You can summon all the program's 
commands from a single, unobtrusive 
command line at the bottom of the screen, 
while the rest of the screen shows what's 
happening on the network you've dialed up. 
The program can also function as a simple 
host system (with password protection), so I 
can dial my office and download files from my 
PC while I'm away. It supports both XMODEM 
and its own file-transfer protocols, and it 
controls file-transfer and micro-to-malnframe 
interaction as well as any program I've seen. 
But I enjoy CROSSTALK most because it has 
one of the cleanest user interfaces around: it 
feels right. 

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The CROSSTALK main menu includes choices for 
all of the parameters necessary for setting up 
communications as well as a directory of dial-up 


Almost free; bargains at any price 

IBM PC & most compatibles; most autodial & 
acoustic modems; 300-1200 baud; $35 suggested 
donation; Freeware/Headlands Press, Box 862, 
Tiburon, CA 94920. 


Version 1.03-E; IBM PC/PCjr/XT/AT and 
compatibles; 192K; most autodial and acoustic 
modems; 300-9600 baud; $25 ($20 suggested 
donation; $5 for disk, mailer, and postage); John 
Friel, The Forbin Project, 715 Walnut St., Cedar 
Falls, lA 50613; data: 319/266-8086 (300, 1200 
and 2400 baud). 

ART KLEINER: PC-TALK's designer Andrew 
Fluegelman invented tlie "freeware" concept 
(you send tlie requested $35 only if you like 

the program and find it of value). Though 
easy to learn and use, original PC-TALK 
supports only Hayes Smartmodems, runs 
relatively slowly (it's written in BASIC), and 
doesn't log in to networks automatically. 

makes the BASIC source code available, it 
has always been easy for users to add 
improvements and additional features, and 
this has encouraged the growth of an 
enthusiastic PC-TALK community— now 
more or less officially based in the 
CompuServe IBM/PC SIG (p. 146). That's 
where you'll find the latest and greatest 
version— PC-TALK.IIIB— which uses 192K of 
memory, and has automatic log-in 
commands and an improved version of the 
XMODEM protocol. This version and 
distribution point have the official sanction of 
Andrew Fluegelman and The Headlands 

Press, holders of the copyright for PC-TALK. 
SIG members have taken sole responsibility 
for supporting the product. 

John Friel's user-supported QMODEM has 
commands and a program layout almost 
identical to PC-TALK's, but QMODEM is 
written in Turbo Pascal; thus it runs 30-40 
times faster. You can even specify a "CPU 
speed" if your machine runs faster than the 
standard IBM PC. Menus and prompts 
appear and disappear instantly in pop-up 
windows and, slickest of all, you can tell 
QMODEM to dial up to ten different phone 

ART KLEINER: There are dozens of other 
homebrew PC-TALK mutations, with split- 
screen, terminal emulation, and real-time 
animated graphics and sound. 

(Snarl) compatible with everything 

Version 3.3 (DOS); Version 4.3 (ProDOS); Apple II 
family; 48K, 1 drive; copy-protected? NO; $130; 
United Software Industries, 1880 Century Park 
East, Suite 311, Los Angeles, CA 90067; 

ART KLEINER: Annoyed with its opaque and 
confusing structure, I dropped this from the 
Catalog and reinstated it after howls of 
protest from satisfied users. There simply is 

The best-designed, from Apple itself . 

Version 1.0; Apple llc/lle (Super Serial Card; 
64K); $75. Version 2.0; Apple llc/lle (extended 80 
column card); ProDOS; mouse required; copy- 
protected? NO; Apple Computer, 20525 Mariani 
Ave., Cupertino, CA 95014; 408/996-1010. 

appears as a "filecard" on the screen, with 
previous "filecards" stacked up behind it. 
You can tell at a glance where you are in the 
program. Dialing into remote networks is 
easy, and you can save or send text without 
backing through a series of menus. APPLE 
ACCESS II can filter out control characters 
from incoming text, and has a well-written 
command language for running automatic 
sequences of events. A class act with only 
two limitations: you can only store ten phone 
numbers on each disk, and it only runs on 
the lie or the lie with Apple's Super Serial 
card and ProDOS. If you use APPLEWORKS 
(page 108) you'll particularly want this 

no other Apple terminal program with this 
number of configuration options, or with this 
sophisticated a command language (APPLE 
ACCESS comes close). 

achievement, and its Achilles' heel, is the 
procedure for setting up routines to log on 
to a remote system automatically. These 
routines are more powerful than those of 
most other programs, but to use them you 
must learn a mini-programming language. 
The manuals give this procedure only a brisk 
once-over. If you're a novice, count on 
finding outside help. 

Switch between voice and data . . . 


Version 1.1; Apple ll/lle (DOS 3.3, modem 
suggested, 48K, II requires one disk drive); 
$69.95; copy-protected? YES; Trutec Software, 
1700 Solano Ave., Berkeley, CA 94707; 

ART KLEINER: This program runs on the 
Apple II, lie, and lie with a variety of serial 
cards and modems. It's one step less 
versatile than ASCII EXPRESS— no error- 
checking (so you can't use it for file transfer) 
and no break key— but twelve steps more 
comprehensible. As a bonus, it.includes an 
electronic rolodex. You can pull out a name, 
dial the person's phone, talk to them, switch 
both computers to data, send an electronic 
message, and switch back to voice. 
PERSON-TO-PERSON has a good, clear 
method for customizing automatic log-in 
sequences. The developers of this program 
have thought about how human beings keep 
in touch with each other, and it shows. 

Patterned after APPLE DOS itself . 


Elizabeth O'Neill; version 2.0; copy-protected? 
NO; $95; Apple II family; Quinsept, RO. Box 216, 
Lexington, MA 02173; 617/641-2930. 

without a lot of screen menus. Instead, it 
uses a single prompt and many commands 
patterned after Apple DOS. CATALOG reads 
the disk files, LIST displays them on the 
screen, and so on. TERM EXEC can do 
automatic log-ons and will memorize a 
sequence of keystrokes so you can use a 
built-in clock routine to send files 
unattended. The program uses DIVERSI- 
DOS and is not copy-protected. Current 
versions support the He 80-column 
configurations, but not Videx or other third- 
party boards for the II + . One interesting 
version is TALKING TERM EXEC for speech 
synthesizers. It will compress speech, 
screen out punctuation, change intonation, 
or repeat lines. And it's the same price. 

/ recently joined the ranks of UNIX-users, 
and started reading the collection of 
electronic bulletin boards who are known 
collectively (with their users) as "Usenet. " 
. . . A bit of "nettiquette" that I found 
amusing was the convention of using 
"Smileys. " There are ;-) :-) B-) :*) 8-) etc. 
If you turn your head 90 degrees, they look 
like smiling faces. #1 is winking, #2 is the 
"standard" smiley #3 is wearing glasses, 
#4 has a fat nose, #5 is wearing granny 
glasses. —Andrea Frankel 



Maefavorite . . 


Version 2.1; copy-protected? NO; $149; 
Macintosh; 128K (512K required for full graphics 
capabilities); Hayes Microcomputer Products, 
Inc., 5923 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Norcross, 
GA 30092; 404/441-1617. 

ART KLEINER: I have never been as 
impressed by a terminal program. 
SMARTCOM II is the first Mac terminal 
program to use icons and mouse 
intelligently. When you're online, icons help 
you turn on or off the disk, printer, or file 
transfer. When you write an automatic 
command file, you need memorize no 
special language— icons below the screen- 
walk you through the process. As it dials 
and logs in, little screen images light up to 
show your progress and pinpoint any 

I suspect a complete novice could, within an 
hour's use of SMARTCOM II, happily log in, 
upload, download, and set up the computer 
to dial in while they're not around— without 
any idea that these snags have flummoxed 
terminal program users miserably in the 
past. A sophisticated networker could go 
years without exhausting the program's 

SMARTCOM II saves its incoming text 
automatically— you can easily cut, paste, 
and copy parts of it to the Mac's clipboard 
without losing your place online. A 
"magnify" option doubles the size of those 
eye-straining Macintosh letters. If all this is 
not enough, SMARTCOM is the first program 
to telecommunicate graphics— two Mac 
owners running SMARTCOM can work 
simultaneously on the same MACPAINT or 
graphic file, each seeing the other's changes 
shortly after they're made. A boon for long- 
distance art or drafting collaborators. 

One caveat: the program requires Hayes' 
own Smartmodem. If you already bought an 
Apple modem, you're out of luck. Hayes- 
compatibles are chancy. Get the store owner 
to test it before you buy the program. 

User-supported software: two good 
Mac options . . . 

Scott Watson; version 5.0; Shareware; $40 
registration fee; Macintosh; FreeSoft, 10828 
Lacklink, St. Louis, MO 63114; 314/428-8057 
(after 6 p.m. CST). 

ETT¥ iOii Ti 


Philip Zimmerman; version 6.93; Shareware; $15 
if you supply disk; otherwise $25; Phil's Pretty 
Good Software, 440 South 45th St., Boulder, CO 
80303; 303/494-1305. 

ART KLEINER: These two programs are the 
first non-commercial Macintosh terminal 
programs that don't require MICROSOFT 
BASIC on the same disk to run; thus, they're 
faster, better adapted to the mouse, and less 
prone to crash. 

features that other programs do not: 
programmable macro keys, user-defined 
auto log-on procedures for any service, 
three kinds of up/download protocols 
(straight text, XMODEM, and KERMIT), and 
an ability to transfer you directly into Apple's 
simple text editor called EDIT You can even 
use the Macintosh Desk Accessories during 
the program's run. At $40, it costs less 
than half of what MACTERMINAL or 

ART KLEINER: RED RYD.ER is not made for 
booting up and dialing; to use it effectively, 
you must learn to write moderately complex 
command files. Its many small conveniences 
include a mouseclick window on the screen 
for common control characters. The manual 
is well-written, but limited. 

An alternative, PRETTY GOOD TERMINAL, 
dials the phone, logs you in, sends and 
receives text, and doesn't do much more. 
But it costs little, feels elegant to use, and 
you have to admire the gentle sense of 
humor of its creator. 

Point and click the bottom icons of SMARTCOM II on 
your Macintosh and you can print, capture, send 
files, receive files or send drawings to another 
Smartcom Mac. The pull-down menus offer many 
choices and countless configurations for telecom- 
municating, while making it all seem so simple. 

ART KLEINER: Telecommunications is a necessity with a lap computer. You 
can't take it all with you; you have to keep transmitting some of it away. All the 
lap computers we recommend have either built-in modems or connections to 
outside modems. The Radio Shack Model 100 (p. 16) is the least expensive way 
to begin telecommunicating effectively if you don't already own a computer. Its 
built-in terminal program is fully featured and snag-free. For file transfer, see 
DISK-F (page 156). 

Commodore 64 and Radio Shack 
preference . . . 

Apple II family ® Commodore 64, Pet ® CP/M ® 
TRS-80 Models I, II, III ®TRS-80 Color Computer; 
$40 ® IBM PC; $60; copy-protected? NO; 
CompuServe, 5000 Arlington Center Blvd., P. 0. 
Box 20212, Columbus, OH 43220; 800/848-8199. 

Commodore 64 (1 600/1 650/Modem 300); $69.95; 
Creative Equipment, 6864 W. Flagler St., Miami, 
FL 33144; 305/261-7866. 

major functions— it stores incoming or 
outgoing text in a buffer, sends and receives 
from networks, controls baud rate and other 
transmission parameters, and has 
CompuServe's special error-checking 
protocol. You can even arrange it to boot up 
automatically, dial and log you on, and take 
you directly to any area on any system. 

ART KLEINER: VIDTEX has versions for 
more computer brands than any other type 
of terminal program. If it had the XMODEM 
protocol (see page 156) I'd recommend it 
more enthusiastically for other computers. 
As it is, it's an Inexpensive, full-featured 
terminal program to poke around networks 
with. CompuServe is always working on 
improvements, which are usually offered for 
downloading from the network itself. 

ULTRA-TERMINAL displays an onscreen clock 
that tells you how long you've been online, 
and lets you choose the display's color 
scheme and format. If you do have a disk 
drive or printer, COMMANDER lets you save 
or print your communications while they're 
displayed on the screen. 

i File Edit Connection Settings Autopilot Special 


can find one uiith low mileage. In Stewart's case, for instance, 

that npprn qrhjiinijiri be go od , ff i nee it Kfteos the cost doain 

(maybe 60il 

Ok: bye 
Thanks f 

Enter phone number: 

C4l(Tl(Tl Q Pause Q seconds 

QQQ Q Ulait for dial tone 

3Q Q ""'«' (D 





Cute mailing system, but limited . . . 


IBM PC/XT/AT & compatibles; Transend or Hayes- 
compatible modem; copy-protected? NO; $189; 
Transend Corporation, 1887 O'Toole Ave., Suite 
C209, San Jose, CA 95131; 408/435-0701. 

ART KLEINER: Say you have people with IBM 
PCs spread over the country working on one 
project.-They're not hackers; they can just 
about handle 1-2-3. You'd like them to 
exchange electronic mail— sometimes 
through The Source, but mostly by having 
each other's computers dial each other after 
the people have gone to bed. You want it to 
feel like walking down the hall and sticking a 
letter in the mail chute, not like engaging in 
"data communications." I recommend 
TRANSEND PC for this need, partly because 

First, you enter all the names and electronic mail 
addresses of your correspondents into TRANSEND 
PC. Ttien, wlien you address a letter, TRANSEND 
sliows you everyone 's name. You select the people 
who should receive this message. TRANSEND 
automatically ligures out how to reach them— 
through The Source, OnTyme, or by dialing their 
computers directly 

it's so damn cute. Its main screen looks like a 
desktop filled with in- and out-baskets. You 
pop in and out of the baskets like a mobile 
jack-in-the-box, typing letters on TRANSEND 
PC's facile word processor. Then, at your cue 
or at a preselected time, TRANSEND PC dials 
up a series of numbers, leaves messages 
where you want them and collects any that 
are waiting for you, tagging them separately. 
Each incoming message waits in your "In- 
box" until you read it and (if you wish) 
discard it. Then it goes to my favorite 
TRANSEND PC feature, a holding place called 
the "waste basket"; to delete it permanently, 
you must "shred" it. TRANSEND PC's iconic, 
nontechnical facade shows the direction that 
communication programs are taking; it also 
proves that Marshall McLuhan was right 
about new media imitating old. 

You can only send TRANSEND PC mail to 
another computer running TRANSEND PC, to 
The Source, or to OnTyme (see lEMS, p. 145). 
There's a limited regular terminal program 
tacked on, but if you want to be compatible 
with a lot of different computers, don't get 
this program. Those who can use it, however, 
will chortle all the way to the keyboard. 

Take your modem anywhere . . . 

$49.95; Microperipheral Corp., 2565 152nd Ave., 
NE, Redmond, WA 98052; 206/881-7544. 

CHARLES RAISCH: So I was the electronic 
journalist at the Hyatt, taking notes on the 
Senator's drunken carousing with a woman 
who was not his wife, when shots rang out 
and the famous man slumped forward into 
his mashed potatoes. After getting out from 
under the table, I grabbed my portable 

For Atari owners, 
the best is free . . . 

Versions 4.2 and higher. Atari 400/600/800, 
800XL; 48K; 1 disk drive; 300/1200 baud modem; 
send $10 and specify which type of Atari and 
modem you have; Jim Steinbrecher, 33220 Tricia, 
Sterling Heights, Ml 48077. 

BERNIE BILDMAN: What a nice surprise is in 
store for Atari owners: the very best, most 
enjoyable terminal program is public domain 
. . . free! AMODEM 4.2 (written by Jim 
Steinbrecher) and its variations are the most 
popular. (I use AMODEM 4.9.) This program 
can capture incoming text and dump it to the 
device of your choice (disk drive, cassette, or 
printer). It will also transfer files with the 
XMODEM protocol (see p. 156). It runs at 
300 or 1200 baud, sends text from disk or 
cassette, and toggles between phone and log- 
on automatically. One hitch: you need another 
public domain program, DISKLINK, to use 
AMODEM with the Atari 1030 modem. You 
can obtain AMODEM and DISKLINK by mail, 
from the Atari SIG on CompuServe (p. 146), 
or from most any Atari bulletin board or local 
users' group. An updated version 
(ETTMODEM) which runs on all Atari 
modems is available for $15 from 

computer and rushed to my hotel suite to file 
my story. I set my gear up, plugged the 
cable into my modem, and—Holy Hell! It's 
an old telephone— no modular plug! 

The Black Jack hits this problem right on the 
head. Simply unscrew the mouthpiece of the 
telephone, drop the round microphone 
lozenge out of the unit, and screw on the 
Black Jack. The mouthpiece becomes a 
modular jack connection for direct-connect 
modems. A neat gadget that works with all 
computers and modems. Now I always make 
the evening editions. 

Between telephone and computer . . 

JIM STOCKFORD: Modems translate computer codes into sound 
signals that travel across telephone lines to other modems, 
allowing communication among computers of any brand. Some 
modems dial the telephone themselves; others require you to 
dial the telephone keypad. Many modems can also receive, or 
answer, a call. 

Modems connect to the phone lines in two ways: directly, by 
cable to a jack, which is inexpensive and very reliable; or 
indirectly, with an "acoustic coupler," a device whose two 
suction cups fit on a telephone handset. 

One important choice is the modem's baud rate— generally 300 
or 1200 baud, figures that approximate the number of bits per 
second sent or received. Three hundred baud is just slow 

enough to read as it scrolls by; 1200 is four times faster but still 
slow enough to skim. In areas where phone-line transmission is 
poor, a slow baud rate may be necessary to ensure correct 
reception (just as on a noisy phone line you speak more slowly 
to be understood). 

A standalone modem works with most computer/software 
combinations, but it's on you to make sure they all work 
together properly Standalone modems take up space on your 
desk or on top of your computer, but can be adapted to any new 
computer software you buy or be sold later. 

An in-board modem fits in a slot for your particular computer, 
and usually comes with software. However, it adds little to your 
computer's resale value, it takes up a slot you may need for 
something else, and you can't easily resell it. The several in- 
board modems we've seen are overpriced and machine-specific, 
so we don't recommend them. If you choose one, choose it 
according to the software that comes with it. 

§§§-[BmM] IMlmlmifm 

JAMES STOCKFORD: We don't recommend 
300-baud modems this year. For very little 
more money you can get a modem that 
works at both 300 and 1200 baud. 
Telecommunicating at 1200 baud generally 
saves you money in phone charges and 
1200-baud modems are more convenient to 
use. However, for those who absolutely can't 
afford a 1200-baud modem, here's one very 
inexpensive but good 300-baud modem. 

A basic, no-frills 300-baud machine . 

$79.95; Anchor Automation, Inc., 6624 Valjean 
Avenue, Van Nuys, CA 91406; 818/997-6493. 

JAMES STOCKFORD: The least expensive 
general-purpose modem, the Volksmodem 
VMI connects directly to standard modular 
phone connectors. It allows both connecting 
parties to transmit simultaneously (full- 
duplex mode) or, alternately, one party to 
transmit at a time (half-duplex mode). It 
automatically switches between answer 
mode and originate mode, and its built-in 
speaker lets you hear if there's a busy 
signal, no answer, or lost carrier tone. The 
VMI is low-priced and reliable— the best 
choice of the 300-baud modems. 


iOiOBE 14 

Commodore and Atari machines have non- 
standard connectors, modem shopping for 
them is a little peculiar. 

We have found, though, that most serious 
Commodore and Atari telecommunicaters 
buy RS-232 interfaces and, because they can 
then choose any modem that suits them, 
they usually choose 1200-baud modems. 

Nifty gizmo . . 


$39.95; Control Industries, P.O. Box 6292, Bend, 
OR 97708; 503/389-1969. 

BARBARA ROBERTSON: If your modem is 
connected to a phone with more than one 
extension, buy a DATAGUARD. This little 
thingamabob fits easily inside your telephone 
(comes with clear instructions) and gives 
your modem, in effect, a dedicated phone 
line. If someone picks up an extension 
phone while your modem is using the phone 
line, they get a dead phone and you stay 
online. Otherwise, the phones work the 
same as before. It's worth every penny. 

1i§§-§mml Mmkm§ 

JAMES STOCKFORD: A year ago, 1200-baud 
modems were premium devices— expensive 
and exotic. This year they are the 
inexpensive standard — you can get a 1200- 
baud smart modem for about $200. Why 
pay more? Modems suffer from two 
problems: heat (the more features a modem 
has, the hotter it gets) and phone line noise 
(which produces garbage on the screen and 
sometimes even prevents the modem from 
connecting). The more expensive modems 
avoid these problems. All the 1200-baud 
modems we recommend also allow 300- 
baud telecommunicating. 

A basic, low-frills machine . . 

$299, street price $225; Anchor Automation, Inc. 
6913 Valjean Ave., Van Nuys, CA 91406; 



$199; BCN, 2533 South Highway 101, Suite 210, 
CardiH-by-the-Sea, CA 92007; 800/541-0199. 

JAMES STOCKFORD: Anchor makes both 
machines— a barely smart, but good, low- 
cost 1200-baud modem. It senses a dial tone 
and the carrier tone of another modem, and 
it automatically adjusts to accommodate the 
signal of an incoming modem call. Using 
keyboard commands, you can change the 
modem's parameters (parity, baud rate, stop 
bit, echo, and duplex settings) and switch 
between tone and pulse dialing. 

BCN packaged the Anchor modem in a 
different case, lowered the price, added 
software, and named it the SMARTLINK II. It 
may be this year's low-budget great deal. 

Plenty of features and tough . . . 

$499; Multi-Tech Systems, Inc., 82 Second 
Avenue S.E., Nevif Brighton, MN 55112; 

many more features than the VMI 2. It also 
stores phone numbers in its battery- 
protected RAM memory, but with a single 
keystroke you can instruct it to dial and re- 
dial numbers a specified number of times 
and dial another number if the first is busy 
or unanswered. It features several test 
modes— analog, digital, and remote digital 
loopback, handy for isolating problems. It is 
tough and works very well. 


Best for business 

$495; Visionary Electronics, Inc., 141 Parker 
Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94118; 415-751-8811. 

JAMES STOCKFORD: The new Visionary 
1200 is amazing. In addition to all the 
features of all the other modems on this 
page, the Visionary 1200 comes with two 
micro-processors, RAM memory expandable 
up to 48K, built-in communications 
software, and an internal clock and calendar. 

It stores phone numbers, log-on sequences, 
incoming and outgoing messages in any 
combination to the extent of its memory. 
You can instruct it to call many numbers at 
any time in the future, execute log-on 
operations, download information, and leave 
messages automatically, unconnected to 
your computer. It will answer incoming 
modem calls and store messages with a 
date/time stamp. You can call in with a 
password to get your messages or instruct it 
to call you at a remote location. The 
XMODEM (error checking) protocol is built 
in. It has a printer port and three 
programmable buttons you can set as you 
please (switch from data to voice, dial a 
TELEX or network address, whatever). It is 
our top choice as a business tool. 

JAMES STOCKFORD: In an age where the 
differences between time and money are 
blurring, modems that let you 
telecommunicate faster would appear, on the 
surface, to be automatic preferences. But as 
yet, only a few of the major networks offer 
2400-baud access; the rest are looking at 
this issue carefully. In this case, faster is not 
necessarily better— yet. Only if you spend a 
lot of time telecommunicating should you 
consider buying a 2400-baud modem. 

Fast and reliable 


$795; Multilech Systems, Inc., 82 Second Avenue 
S.E., New Brighton, MN 55112; 612/631-3350. 

224 has the same features as its 1200-baud 
sibling, except that it allows 2400-baud 
communications in addition to 1200- and 
300-baud. We connected it between our new 
VAX super-minicomputer and the Sausalito 
phone lines to try it on our new conferencing 
system. The WELL. Absolutely no 
complaints, it passed with flying colors. 

HUGH DANIEL: MultiTech has been making 
good modems for years without a lot of 
hoopla. This modem seems to be the latest 
in a series of very good modems. 

Mowing data from one computet to another . . . 

ART KLEINER: Typical problem: you want to transfer a file 
(words, numbers, or other data) from your Apple II to an IBM 
PC. How do you do it? 

1. If the computers are near each other you can connect them 
using an RS-232 cable with a "null-modem." (Most computers 
use reasonably standard cabling, but double-check with your 
store to make sure.) If the computers are widely separated, 
you'll need to connect each computer to a modem. If all other 
factors are equal, choose a cable instead of telephones; it's 
easier, faster, and more reliable. 

2. A terminal program on each computer. To transfer files 
without errors (helpful for text, essential for data), terminal 
programs need an agreed-upon "protocol." Any protocol will 

do, as long as you have the same one on both ends, but the 
most commonly used is XMODEM, a public-domain protocol 
written by Ward Christensen. With XMODEM, you'll be able to 
swap files with 90 percent of the computers around you. 
Terminal programs with XMODEM include: M0DEM7, PC- 
and TERM EXEC. The two best are MITE (p. 151), which lets 
you send several files at once, and RELAY (p. 150), which lets 
you run other programs while you're sending a long file. 
KERMIT is better suited for mainframes. 

3. Finally, if you're moving files from one program to another 
the data may need to be converted into another file format. If 
the programs themselves don't handle the conversion, you 
may need utilities. Many of these utilities are found in the 
public domain (see p. 25). The Programming section (pp. 158 
to 174) also includes utility programs as does the Analyzing 
section on p. 72. 

Stop! Before you transfer files, ciieck this 
stiortcut . . . 

Version 3.0; copy-protected? NO; $99.50; IBM PC/ 
XT and compatibles; Vertex Systems, 6022 W. 
Pico Blvd. #3, Los Angeles, CA 90035; 213/938- 


Copy-protected? NO; $99; PC/MS-DOS machines; 
64K; 2 disk drives; Selfware, Inc., 3545 Chain 
Bridge Rd., Suite 3, Fairfax, VA 22030; 
800/242-4355 or, in VA, 703/352-2977. 


Version 2.0L; copy-protected? YES; $99; IBM PC 
and compatibles; 2 disk drives; Award Software, 
Inc., 236 North Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gates, CA 
95030; 408/395-2773. 

ART KLEINER: Computer designer George 
Morrow once said, "The best local area 
network is walking down the hall with a 
floppy disk." If the computers use the same 
kind of disks, these programs will, while 
you're using them, "trick" the disk drive on 
one computer into believing it's a disk drive 
for a second type of computer. They take, 
say, a KAYPRO II file and make a copy of it 
in, say, IBM PC format in the same 

Matthew McClure used these three to put 
together the Wfhole Earth Software Catalog. 

All are limited to file transfers between MS- 
DOS machines, CP/M machines, or from one 
to the other, and all work fine. They keep 
adding machines to their lists, so check the 
documentation to see if they'll work for you. 

naodel 100 to desktop 


Version 2.0; copy-protected? YES; $149.95; 
TRS-80 Models I, II, III, 4, 4P, 12, 16; Models 
1000, 1200HO, 2000; Portable Computer Support 
Group, 11035 Harry Hines Blvd. #207, Dallas, TX 
75229; 214/351-0564. 


Version 1.12; copy-protected? YES; $180; IBM PC/ 
XT/AT and compatibles; 256K; 2 disk drives; 
Kensington Microware, 251 Park Ave. So., New 
York, NY 10010; 212/475-5200. 

JAMES STOCKFORO: I have used DISK+ to 
exchange files between the IBM PC and the 
Model 100. The Model 100 controls the 
whole process, including the disk drive and 
the file-managing activity of the desktop 
computer. You can use the PC to store 
Model 100 files and thus avoid the much 
more tedious cassette recorder. DISK+ 
comes as a plug-in chip, which saves 
memory space. 

ART KLEINER: OISK+ requires you to buy 
your own "null-modem" cable. For IBM PC 
owners, REMOTE CONTROL comes with 
everything, including cable, in one box. It 
puts a version of the Model 100 software on 
the screen of your PC. 

Like a wtiite flag between battling 
armies . . . 




Copy-protected? NO; $150; IBM PC and 
compatibles (128K); Macintosh; dilithium Press, 
P.O. Box 606, Beaverton. OR 97075; 

ART KLEINER: Because each machine has its 
own unique advantages, many offices have 

Free micro, mini, mainframe moves 

Available for most mainframe, minicomputers, 
and microcomputers; 1 disk drive and modem or 
connecting cable; copy-protected? NO; free 
through most local users' groups; for availability 
to users' groups and other institutions contact 
KERMIT Distribution, Columbia University Center 
for Computing Activities, 612 West 115th Street, 
New York, NY 10025; 212/280-3703. 

MARK COHEN: KERMIT allows file transfer 
between a wide variety of different 
computers. While originally developed for 
communication between mini and mainframe 
computers, the many authors of KERMIT 
now write new versions as fast as the 
computer manufacturers can crank out 
incompatible machines. The program is free 
and usually includes enough documentation 
for use. Complete and fancy documentation 
is available but costs money. Finding a copy 
of KERMIT is sometimes difficult. Most 
university systems have a version of KERMIT 
already set up that is yours for the taking 
and, being in the public domain, for many 
universities it is the preferred file transfer 
protocol. KERMIT won't allow you to run 
1-2-3 (p. 68) on your Atari, but it does allow 
you to transfer both text and binary files 
simply and efficiently. The process of 
moving a copy of KERMIT to your own 
computer, however, can be a bit complex 
and/or poorly documented. 

both an IBM PC and a Macintosh— -a 
frustrating arrangement because the two 
machines don't talk to each other very well. 
Now all the programs and parts— including 
the cable— for exchanging text, spreadsheet, 
or database files come in one box called PC 
TO MAC AND BACK! and you can get them 
going in an hour and a half. The one utility 
missing, though, is one that would convert 
MACPAINT drawings to painting programs 
that run on the IBM PC. 

Mi%?yig^a- y'age-ak.;<.^';fe,-5a-.'raH&J! 

ART KLEINER: Local computer networks may change how 
offices work more than any other computer use. These networks 
link small computers to share expensive hard disks and fast 
printers, mutually used databases and spreadsheets, and 
complex programs. I asked Richard Solomon, editor of 
International Networks, a newsletter on world 
telecommunications technology and policy ($225/yr; P.O. Box 
187, Monson, MA 01057) and veteran networking consultant, to 
tell how to bring a local network into your business. 

RICHARD SOLOMON: Business people often come to me with 
half-articulated local networking needs: Maybe they already have 
three Apples and an IBM PC in the office, with three more PCs 
and a Compaq on order, and they want them all to connect easily 
together. Unfortunately, no off-the-shelf product can do that yet, 
and I'd be skeptical of any manufacturer who said it could be 
simply done. 

When you extend a web among computers, new complexities 
arise that you don't face when you try to interchange data 
between, say, SUPERCALC and DBASE II or between two ASCII 
word processors. First, there are no universal local network 
standards. Cable connections, operating systems, disk- access 
formats, and a host of other details are unpredictably 
incompatible. I once spent four days transferring WORDSTAR 
files from an Apple to an IBM PC. All sorts of problems arose 
that MicroPro seemed unaware of. Apple CP/M and PC DOS do 
different things with carriage return/linefeed. RS-232 serial-to- 
serial was out of the question without some extensive 
programming and resoldering of the Apple-Cat II. The modems 
or the software were not compatible at 1200 baud, so we had to 
settle for 300. 

And the CP/M operating system stripped all the funny 
WORDSTAR characters, so the files required extensive manual 
manipulation. In the long run, rekeying would have been 
cheaper and faster-cheaper even than buying some untested 
software that promised the moon but, as usual, left out some 
small important detail. 

A local network isn't going to do much for you where everything 
else is incompatible. But there are even more fundamental 
questions: How much wire can fit in your ceiling? How well can 
your office phone system carry computer signals? If it is an all- 
digital PBX, can it interface with your PC at all? (Probably not.) 
How well can your existing database software handle the tricky 
problems of access by more than one user? How compatible will 
your network be with the new equipment you'll want to buy next 
year, or with another local network you'll want to link it to later? 

Local networks can have critical reliability problems. What do 
you do when your hard disk breaks? The smaller firms have neat 
products, but support is often terrible; you call them up and 
never get a straight answer. Their code is always proprietary, so 
you can't clean things up even if you know what you're doing. If 
all your data is on a hard disk and there was an error in their 
directory table, that can be catastrophic in a pinch. Too many 
companies have not graduated from the fun and games level of 
the microcomputer business and don't realize that people are 
using their toys for serious, money-making tasks. I dropped one 

vendor real fast when its hotline was answered on a Friday with a 
recorded message that said they only worked four days a week! 
Well, we often work seven days a week. That's why we use 

This year, you still need a consultant to set up a local network- 
someone skilled in using them who knows about several 
systems, who understands the economics involved, and who 
starts by asking what you do, how you do it, and why you want 
to change it. If a consultant starts off by saying, "I've got a 
super-duper product for you," look for someone else fast. Be 
wary of any scheme that costs more than 50 percent of the total 
cost of your computers and terminals. 

The simplest local network is two computers connected by cable 
—for swapping files (see p. 155). Some programs will let both 
computers share files simultaneously on the same hard disk (if 
the operating systems are comparable). An alternative is 
expanding one microcomputer into a multi-user system, with 
other computers serving as terminals to the first. (They don't 
even have to be similar machines, since the other micros could 
emulate terminals when connected to the host machine.) Multi- 
user operating systems like UNIX (p.168) are more versatile, " 
but may be overkill (especially in price) for most small 

Most local networks use coaxial or fiberoptic cable, or ordinary 
telephone wire pairs, to link 3 to 25 machines. The more useful 
cable systems, like Ethernet, incorporate complex algorithms on 
interface cards so that each computer can sense when to send or 
receive a signal. Some office telephone systems are designed to 
carry data as well as voice, but require some special device for 
direct connection, since modems will not do. And next year 
telephone companies in many cities may offer AT&T's Circuit 
Switched Digital Capability, hopefully to be tariffed as a low-cost 
service sending data at 56 kilobits/second over ordinary 
telephone lines; this is fast enough to effectively extend your 
local network across a city or a continent. 

Speed is important, because you won't just be sending files, 
you'll be interacting with a faraway program as quickly as if it 
were on your own computer. 

I recommend waiting for the new products, which we'll review 
as good ones emerge. None of the popular PCs today were 
designed with digital high-speed (local or whatever) 
commmunications in mind. But some of the rumored offerings 
from AT&T (of course), IBM, Digital, and others will radically 
change the way software is written and micros are used. If you 
really need communications, you can probably assume that 
anything you buy now will be written off in less than three years, 
as these novel items come onstream. 

Citicorp in Manhattan sends its data locally by laser beams and 
microwave, coaxial cables, and fiberoptic lines running down the 
IRT subway line (which, as J.R Morgan's bank, it financed back 
in 1904). Also, since 1918, the bank has had a pneumatic tube 
system in the IRT still kept in very good shape. These are not 
department store tubes-they're large cylinders that carry their 
cargo between uptown and downtown at some 75 mph. Initially 
they carried paper, punched cards, and money, but now they 
transport floppy disks. When CitiCorp analyzed its various 
systems, it found that nothing was sending as much data faster 
than the pneumatic tubes. 


Gerald M. Weinberg, Domain Editor 

GERALD M. WEINBERG: In 1905, when you went motoring, you 
took your mechanic. Twenty-five years later, mass production 
revolutionized the role of the automobile, but buying a Ford 
wouldn't have made sense if everyone still needed a mechanic 
on board. 

In 1955, when you used your computer, you took your 
programmer. Twenty-five years later, mass production 
revolutionized the role of the computer, but buying a micro 
wouldn't have made sense if everyone still needed a 

It was important to get rid of the mechanic in every car, but even 
after 80 years, we still need mechanics somewhere. Moreover, 
drivers who understand the mechanisms involved get a whole lot 
more satisfaction from their cars. Even if they don't make simple 
repairs themselves, their knowledge of the mechanical 
underpinnings makes them far more intelligent buyers of cars 
and service. 

It's the same with programming, the technology that underlies 
all other software tools, the very instructions that drive the 
computer. The three most common problems software users 
face today are (1) selecting the right package, (2) understanding 
the documentation, and (3) coping with errors and 
shortcomings in the programs. If you use software— even 
though you never intend to write a program — you should read a 
few good books on programming. Why? A knowledge of 
programming (1) makes you a better shopper, (2) clarifies 
muddy manuals and foggy screens, and (3) suggests how to 
circumvent errors and shortcomings. 

Some addicts say that programming builds character If so, I 
must have built a lot of character in 30 years, but not enough to 
tolerate poor-quality software tools. Most of the tools available 
to the personal computer programmer are two decades behind 
the best that are available on mainframes. Fortunately, the 
micros are catching up fast, and they would develop even faster 

if the market were more sophisticated. Few personal computer 
users would recognize fine programming if they saw it. 

One example: An enthusiast sent me a review of a tool for 
resequencing line numbers in BASIC. No doubt he finds it 
useful, but it's unforgivable that this tool wasn't provided as part 
of his BASIC interpreter. Even worse, why would a sensible 
programming language use line numbers in the first place? 
They're a throwback to the old days when the only terminals 
programmers could use were printers rather than monitors 
(BASIC and APL), or to the ancient days of punch cards 
(FORTRAN). A tool for resequencing line numbers in BASIC is 
like a blowtorch to light the pilot on your solar water heater 

Though unacquainted with good programming, personal 
computer users have been introduced to the consequences of 
poor programming in the software they buy— errors, 
incompatible interfaces, errors, clumsy designs, errors, poor 
performance, errors, wipeouts, and errors. None of this garbage 
is necessary, but the buyers think "that's just the way computers 
are." That's why this section emphasizes some of the classic 
books on programming— to accelerate the revolution of rising 
expectations. And that's why it emphasizes the entire 
programming process from conception to design to debugging, 
not just hacking code on the screen. 

We have restricted the reviews of programming tools to a few of 
the best— partly owing to a lack of space, partly to a lack of more 
good tools, but mostly because it's time we learned from good 
examples. Unfortunately, some of the best programming tools 
are being treated as trade secrets within the software 
companies. Superior programming tools still have a small 
marketing potential, so they're more profitably used— like 
machine tools— to produce software products. 

The market for software machine tools will always be smaller 
than that for prebuilt packages: There are a lot more Chevys 
than automatic milling machines. However, as hardware costs 
drop and user sophistication grows, the market for 
professional-quality programming tools will blossom. Some of 
these high-quality tools, like UNIX (p. 168), and object-oriented 
programming languages like SMALLTALK, are beginning to 
reach the personal computer market. As they do, their 
primitive imitations will be swept away. The sooner the better. 

STEWART BRAND: Software is beyond soft, beyond liquid, 
beyond even gas— it is utterly non-material. Yet it is completely 
accessible. That makes it a standing invitation to meddle. The 
stages are easy. First you install the commercial programs on 
your computer, customizing to suit. Then you combine a 
couple programs on one disk and blend them a bit. Then you 
enhance the keyboard with the likes of PROKEY and 
SMARTKEY (p. 174). Then you're messing with utilities 
(pp. 172-174), further customizing your file and disk handling. 
You're programming. Keep it up and you'll be a programmer. 

We're honored to have as domain editor the distinguished 
author of The Psychology of Computer Programming (p. 170) 

Gerald M. Weinberg 

and An Introduction to General 
Systems Thinking along with 20 
other books. Jerry Weinberg has 
been working with computers for 
29 years. At present he and his 
anthropologist wife Dani do 
consulting, training, and writing 
on the interaction between 
people and technology out of 
their base near Lincoln, 



PETER A. MCWILLIAMS: Teaching BASIC is a Jioldoverfrom 
several years ago when there were no programs for personal 
computers. That time is past, but the habit of teaching the 
language of programming remains. 

GERALD M. WEINBERG: Personally, I think everyone should 
learn to program, but that's not a problem, because all computer 
users do learn to program whether they want to or not. Any time 
you arrange your procedure for using a word processor or 
spreadsheet into a logical progression of steps, you are 
programming. In fact, even when you arrange your procedure 
into an /7/ofif/ca/ sequence of steps, you are programming. So the 
question is not whether you should learn to program, but 
whether you should learn to program well. 

In short, the first reason to study programming is to improve 
your ability to think in terms of logical, efficient procedures, 
whether for using your computer or for using your own time 
without a computer. 

Let's face it. The state of the art in software is still a bit crude, 
and most packages are more heavily influenced by their 
programmers' concerns than by their intended audience. When 
you run into trouble with such a package, even a slight 
knowledge of programming may get you out of trouble by 
allowing you to figure out what's going on behind the scenes— 
the things the manual doesn't say explicitly. 

GIRISH PARIKH: Learning a programming language, though 
important for programming, is only half the story. Before 
building a house, you first get a blueprint. To program 
effectively, before writing code you must first have a design. 

GERALD M. WEINBERG: For most personal computer users, 
learning to design programs will probably be of much more 
value than learning to write code in some programming 

language. Those who understand design will make better 
decisions when buying software, just as those who understand 
architecture will make better decisions when buying a house. 
Fortunately for the beginner, there are now some excellent books 
on program design, which we review below. 

GIRISH PARIKH: If you have leamed programming, you can 
write short but important programs that you need but that are 
not available on the software market. And who knows? You 
might even get a software publisher interested, and make some 

GERALD M. WEINBERG: Getting rich through programming is a 
common fantasy. If you intend to learn programming as a way of 
getting rich, try the lottery instead. Your chances are better. On 
the other hand, learning to program may help you get a job. But, 
as Parikh says, we still haven't reached that Utopian state where 
only professional programmers need to write programs. Most of 
the programs you write will be trivial to everyone but yourself. 
Twenty lines of BASIC that change the format of all your files so 
you can use a new word processor may be worth thousands of 
dollars to you but not a penny to someone else. 

To me, the ultimate reason for learning to program was 
perfectly expressed by Don Knuth as the first sentence of his 
monumental work, The Art of Computer Programming (Donald 
E. Knuth; Vol. 1, Fundamental Algorithms; 2nd ed., 1973; 634 
pp.; Vol. 2, Seminumerical Algorithms; 2nd ed., 1981; 700 
pp.; Vol. 3, Sorting and Searching; 1973; 722 pp.; $36.95/ 
volume; Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Jacob Way, Reading, 
MA 01867; 617/944-3700; or COMPUTER LITERACY): 

The process of preparing programs for a digital computer is 
especially attractive, not only because it can be economically 
and scientifically rewarding, but also because it can be an 
aesthetic experience much like composing poetry or music. 

GERALD M. WEINBERG: You don't need more reason than that. 


'MMk iMii§w§§§i 

GERALD M. WEINBERG: When Jean Sammett wrote 
Programming Languages: History & Fundamentals in 1969, 
there were hundreds of known languages. Though a few of them 
have died, many more have been born, so now there may be 
thousands. When you add the multiple dialects of each 
language, and the multiple implementations of each dialect, the 
beginner has a big problem: which language to learn first? 

In my opinion, there are two important rules to follow in 
choosing your first programming language: 

1. It doesn't matter much, so choose something that's easily 
available to you. 

2. Don't learn just one, learn at least two at the same time. 

I have always trained new programmers by having them write 
every program in two languages as different from one another as 
possible. At the very least, this practice prevents extreme 

language chauvinism from developing. If you learn this way, you 
learn that ei/ery language has some good features and every 
language has some dreadful ones. 

And since you're going to learn two, one of them might as well 
help you get a job— quite likely some form of BASIC, COBOL, 
Pascal , or some member of that family, like FORTRAN or PL/I . 
But don't choose two from this family. To save money, you'll 
probably choose the one that comes with your computer, which 
is quite likely some form of BASIC. Don't let it bother you; you're 
only learning. 

MATTHEW MCCLURE: Most programming languages share 
certain fundamental concepts, such as variables, subroutines, 
arrays, loops, strings, conditional branching, input and output. 
Learn how one language, such as BASIC, implements these 
concepts, and it's usually not hard to learn how another 
language handles the same ideas. It gets more interesting when 
you have new concepts— structured/modular programming or 
extensibility, for example; then you get exposed to a whole new 
level of sophistication. 

Teaching by bad example . . . 

The Elements of Programming Style; Brian W. 
Kernighan and P. J. Plauger; 2nd Edition, 1978; 
160 pp.; $17.95; IVIcGraw-Hill, 1221 Avenue of the 
Americas, New York, NY 10020; 212/512-2000; or 

DENNIS GELLER: For programmers, this is 
the one book to have if you're having only 
one. Like its namesake, Strunk and White's 
Elements of Style, the book concentrates on 
the essential practical aspects of style by 

Collected into chapters under such names as 
"Expression," "Control Structure," 
"Common Blunders," and "Efficiency and 
Instrumentation" are real programs, not toys 
made up to illustrate a point. These bad 
examples serve as springboards for incisive 
discussions of the best ways to write correct 
and readable programs. Sad to say, these 
programs come primarily from programming 
textbooks, where our next generation of 
programmers is turning for guidance. Each of 
the examples gets rewritten, sometimes in 
more than one way, to illustrate the 
principles the authors espouse. The 
examples are in FORTRAN or PL/I, but are 
nonetheless valuable in BASIC, COBOL, 

Pascal or any other common language. As 
the authors prove, "The principles of style 
are applicable in all languages, including 
assembly codes." 

Each example is followed by an aphorism that 
captures the point: "Write clearly— don't be 
too clever"; "Choose a data representation 
that makes your program simple"; "Make it 
right before you make it faster" The rules are 
listed together at the end of the book. A 
programmer could do worse than paste the 
list on the wall. 

This book could be used as a textbook for a 
programming course, yet the examples are 
sufficiently self-contained to allow you to 
open the book at random , read a few pages, 
and come away a better programmer. In fact, 

that's not a bad way to work with the book on 
your second or third reading. 

One of the strongest messages in this book is 
that programming is a holistic task. The error 
in the sine function is not with the formula or 
the numerical analysis— the first place many 
programmers would look— but arises from 
the simplest of all blunders, an uninitialized 
variable. Time and again, using subtle or 
surprising examples, Kernighan and Plauger 
lead us to sharpen both our reading and 
writing skills by discussing what is wrong in a 
given instance, how to correct it, and, most 
important, how to avoid it. 

To whet your appetite, here's a single 
example from Chapter 5. It's supposed to 
read the sides of a triangle and compute the 
area. Before you buy the book and find out 
what the authors have to say, can you 
determine what in the example is wrong 
(and what's right)? (For assistance, see 
p. 208.) 

READ (5,23) A, B, C 

23 FORMAT (3F10.0) 

S = (A + B + C)/2.0 

AREA = SQRT(S * (S-A) * (S-B) * (S-C)) 


17 FORMAT (1P4F16.7) 




Structured, compact, powerful, portable... 

The C Programming Language; Brian Kernighan 
and Dennis Ritchie; 1978; 228 pp.; $22.50; 
Prentice-Hall, P.O. B